The Jungle

The jungle slept fitfully at night. It dreamt dreams of hunger and satiation, crawling around on its belly, running swiftly on its bare feet, and flying through the moist warm air blindly with only its sensitive hearing to guide it. Under the gibbous moon the jungle hooted and cawed in its sleep. Ever so little by little the dome of sky would lighten over the sleeping jungle until the sun would burn a hole through the dreams and the swarms of myriad small buzzings. Then the jungle would wake up into a new day full of great new expectations but also knowing that the day was much the same as other days that came and went. The jungle had pretty much everything it wanted. It was never lonely and there was no other place it wanted to go.

But one day there was something new in the jungle. It was suddenly curious whether there might be other jungles or things it could not even imagine in its dreams. The jungle decided it would go outside of itself to see what it could see. A long tubule extended from the jungle over many walking bare feet. The tubule wended and meandered its way through the forests, over creeks and grassy savannahs, and under the domes of day and night until it came to a small wooden cave grazing the nectar of buttercups in the sunlight. The tubule looked through a square frame of open space along the side of the wooden cave. It didn’t see anything particularly dangerous so it gently pushed open the door and entered the cave. There were many things inside it did not recognize so it climbed up the stairs and pushed open another door. It saw another square frame of open space and approached.

The tubule had intended to look through the frame to see what was on the other side but instead it saw a funny creature in the middle of the frame looking back at it. The creature seemed to be detached from the jungle, a singularly lonely being, defined as much by what he was as what he was not. The creature said to himself ‘I will call myself a man from now on, something separate from the jungle which I now only vaguely remember, which I will one day tame and then beat back. I will call this new thing in which I live civilization and civilization will beat back the jungle until it gasps its last breath.’

The jungle felt a wince of pain from its lost tubule and hunched itself smaller, shaking until the night dome of the moon and stars soothed it with dreams of hoots and caws.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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Filed under Prose, Stories and Novels

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