Henry, the anthropologist, was obsessed with the word F.U.C.K. The title of his serious book on the humapes. It captured a compressed day in the lives of Aju and Elu, the two “just turned” humans, about 100000 years ago. He was digging in one of the caves and found these words. Well not the exact letters but the symbols made by early humans that led him to decipher the true meaning of the four letter word.
Tall as they were, the surroundings overwhelmed Elu & Aju. Trees that tower with roots that pierce. The varieties of life forms all fight battles to just stay alive and breed. The caves were safest and togetherness helped. These days Aju looked at Elu intently. At first, she thought, he was after her body; to eat the juicy parts. But when others tried to do her, Aju seemed to be upset. He now fought them away which made her angrily drive him away from her. He stayed away and that somehow annoyed her more.
What brought them together again was partly fear. These days Elu used to look for food alone but unknown to her Aju always followed at a distance. And it was good he did that day as a different, but similar kind of specie attacked her. The two together fought him away. This other-similar kind was stronger, smarter but scattered. Fear from such attacks bound the Aju and his types to live together; they would always hunt those other kinds as they lived not in groups. Survival was in numbers.
They dragged their kill to their own group and were appreciated. But seeing Aju with her, the group let them be together. Strangely, Elu stayed closer to Aju in one corner of the cave. Aju looked at her constantly and touched her face and held her hand. As she snuggled up to him to do each other, he held her and put his ear and then mouth to her breast. He was being so different, but she liked and their urges became their own.
It was time to move on to other caves up the mountains as the group sensed more attacks from the smarter kinds. The two stayed behind wanting to be foolishly alone. Their minds told them to stay with others but their hearts were beating together, separate from others. And the danger this time came from a large cat trying to find leftover food in the absence of a large group. The cat ripped open Aju’s shoulder and thigh but the shrieks of Elu and things hurtled by her in desperation drove away the cat, only to return later.
Elu’s instinct was to run away to the group but Aju’s eyes held her. Her instinct made her put large branches to cover the cave entrance and to keep stones and branch-sticks to shield from any attacks. She licked his wounds, knowing not what else to do. Care came to her naturally, holding his head in her lap and pouring water over his heated body. When the cat returned, she scared the animal with loud noises and banging of stones which accidentally created sparks that frightened the cat and them too.
Elu was curious about the sparks, which by now she understood, did not come from the sky. Each held the stone and rubbed together and were again excited seeing the sparks. Now it became a game between the two. Unknowingly, the sparks touched the dry leaves under which they were lying and became flames. Startled, they put off the flames and rubbed the black soot from their hands dropping many on the wounds, which healed faster.
They now had crude knowledge of fire and medicine. Gradually, Aju recovered and the two joined their group in the mountain caves. The others learnt from them about the new things. They also aped them, slowly choosing each other, being closer and more touchy-feely like them.
Generations followed these early lessons and the story of Aju and Elu and the four letter word became the basis of humanity.