Serpents In The Sky
23 June, 2004
author: Rebecca Ditch-Hammack (aka Dreamer)


We have been building for what seems forever. It has been so long I barely remember life before we began. Fear drives us to continue.......

It started when I was nearly a child. The year the light's came. One night while we danced at the festival the sky lit up with a strange flash of daylight. We had never seen anything like it. It seemed to light up the whole world. We had to cover our eyes from the brightness. Then came the loud crack of sound like I never heard before or again since. It was louder than the thunderous sound that comes with the rain. And the flash was brighter than the lightening.

That night people screamed and some were struck blind. Fire fell from the sky like rain for a few moments of time. Those of us that weren't filled with fear just watched. We could hardly believe what was happening. It seemed so strange.

Half a night had passed after the event. Some of us that were young still sat and watched the sky talking about what had happened and tried to understand. There were small fires across the river that we could see. We all believed it was from the fire in the sky, that had caused them.

There was not much to burn there. Only a few bushes and a few trees were on that side of the river. The elders seemed too fearful of what had happened to even watch or come out of the caves. We could hear those still filled with fear where we sat on the hill. They called for us to get inside but we were young and were too curious about the lights to go and hide from them. That is when we began to see more lights.

Like little suns. They were not a brilliant as the first one and did not light the ground. They seemed to fly through the skies like the bees that go from flower to flower. At first there were only a couple and then it seemed like the entire night sky was filled with these lights. Some were bright and others dim some seemed to have colors of the sun and others seemed to have no color at all.

We all watched now in silence. We could not hear anything but the strange eerie silence of nature. I have to think even the animals and plants watched in awe of the lights. Soon the lights all seemed to join together in a long serpent and moved across the sky. It was beautiful to behold as it swayed back and forth over our heads..

We all wondered what the spirits meant by this. Had we upset them somehow or was this their way of showing pleasure? Some of those who stayed below at the settling watched from their doorways. Only sound was the crying of those frightened by the mysterious event.

We watched from the hillside, for what seemed like a long time, in silence as the lights flew around in the sky. I didn't know what to make of it all. Everyone had their own idea what they could be.

Then as suddenly as it started all but 3 of the lights disappeared. They got brighter and closer. Some of those I was with became overcome with the fear and left to join with their families. I was among the few that stayed to watch. As the lights got closer they seemed to get brighter. I had to half close my eyes and shy away to watch them.

The lights lit up the ground on the other side of the river. They were very close and yet we still could hear no sound. For some reason that really bothered me at the time. I kept thinking that everything makes a sound of some kind.

I wasn't as caught up in the spirits guides idea as the others were. I was not convinced this was the spirit guides. I had never seen them before. I just found it hard to believe they would be seen like this. Not that I knew what they would look like; I just felt this wasn't it.

I watched the lights as they seemed to land on the ground. They hung in the air above it like a spider before settling down. The objects seemed to light up the ground like a large torch of fire. Yet there was no fire. The ground glowed all around the three roundish objects. They seemed to not only be lights but looked like really large smooth grey rocks. Like the ones found in the river that we tanned our hides with. Only much,much bigger.

Suddenly all went dark. The lights were gone. I watched in the direction of where the lights had been for a few moments of time. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness again I realized the huge rocks were still there. I could see them in the moonlight. The moon seemed to dance off them like it did the water in the river.

Some one said they seen something moving and three of us decided to go closer by the river and see. I took up my bow and two other of the males took up some rocks and we made our way down the hill toward the river.

Most of the Elders were still no where to be seen but a few ventured out to also take a closer look. We joined them and as a group moved to the rivers edge very slowly.

We could see some strange animals moving about. They reminded me of people in the village but seemed more like ants. Their bodies seemed too skinny in the middle to support their height. Their arms and legs were long for the rest of them. Their heads seemed large. I could not see their faces if they had any. It seemed like they had water where their heads were as it shined in the moonlight.

They moved around the area quick and seemed to be picking things up but I couldn't see what. They looked like shadows moving in the moonlight and darkness. I couldn't be sure how many there were. I only seen a few maybe 10. Others said there were hundreds and some only seen one or two. Time betrays me now as I can not trust my memory.

We stood in the shadows of the trees watching for a while. Aurusa, one of the young men, got brave and decided to go across the river to where they were. Two of his friends, Easha and Sanya, joined him. The rest of us remained behind in the trees at the edge and watched them as they crossed.

The river flowed slow and was low since it was the dry season. They got across without much effort. There was nothing for them to hide behind on the other side of the river. It was dessert free of trees and bushes from a fire 8 seasons before. Aurusa and his friends stayed low to the ground as they did when they are hunting.

One of the creatures moved toward them. I don't think it actually seen them just happened in their direction. Aurusa drew his bow an shot at him. There was a sound much like a rabbit when caught by a wild dog. Suddenly there was a burst of a bright light and Aurusa was gone. Then two more. One of his friends too disappeared from where he stood. At the time I was not sure who it was since it was so dark. Then I heard Easha scream out in pain. I knew who it was that was gone.

Suddenly all the creatures seemed to stand up erect and run to the shiny large rocks. The sides of the rocks seemed to open up like a door. Only there was none. Bright sun came from the door. So bright I could barely see the creatures moving inside. Then darkness.. There was no light. The sides of the rocks became dark again. With only the moonlight reflecting off of them.

As soon as it became dark several of the Elders that were with us hurried across the river to where Easha lay still crying out in his pain.

As they started to pick him up all three of the rocks lit up into bright suns. All the elders that went to retrieve Easha joined him in his cries of pain.. It was horrible listening and being able to do nothing. It sounded as if a beast was tearing them apart...

Suddenly the rocks lifted up off the ground and flew straight up as if thrown into the sky. One lingered behind the others and lightening came from it toward the ground and dozens of lights burst into fire on the ground around where they had been earlier moving around.

And before I could blink and rub my eyes it too was gone. The sky was only stars and moonlight, as if nothing had happened. Only it had..

When the others went across the river to retreive Easha and the others they had no idea what horror awaited them. Easha's leg was gone. The other Elders looked as if they had fallen and been burned in fires and their flesh melted and burnt to the bone. Some lived for a short while. Only Easha and one other survived. But they were changed for ever. Arusua and Sanya were gone and never seen again..

Some of the people closest to the flying lights became blinded for days following the event. Many of us seemed to be red and sore on our skin. But with time we all got better. Even those that had been blinded could again see..

No one knew what to think of what had happened. Everyone, including me was filled with fear. We never wanted these lights to come back. We had to find a way to keep them from ever coming back.

The Elders had many gatherings with our people and the people of other settlings near us who had seen the serpent lights in the sky. We were not a people of hatred. We did not believe in killing except for food. We did not feel our spirit guides would be pleased with us if we changed our ways now.

It was decided by the Elders to take our lessons from the animals and nature as we always did. Animals that are not big enough to fight would sometimes act fierce to frighten and chase their enemies away. They would fight them to the death no matter to their size. They had to devise a way for us to look fierce to these creatures so that they would not bother us again. Like the snake we would make a warning that we would strike if we must..

The Elders decided that since they made the large serpent in the sky that it was something they understood. They decided we would make a very large serpent on the ground so that the lights would see us as a fierce people. Hopefully they would believe it if we could make such a huge serpent. If not, maybe they would see it as trying to be friendly.

So we began building.. We move the earth to look like a large serpent. People from everywhere come to join in. Those who have seen the eyes of the serpent in the sky are everywhere.

Every dry season when the river is low thousands gather at its tail. We make much noise and dance and feast. We call to our spirit guides to help us to keep the creatures from coming back.

It has grown to be all we do. We build to protect all people from the eyes of the "Serpent in the sky". We build and when we move on and we build again. Each creature large and fierce enough to show them we are fearless and though we seem small and insignificant we will fight fiercely like the snake against them.

We have been building for what seems forever. It has been so long I barely remember life before we began. Fear will always drive us to continue.......


Comments on this poem/writing:

Tammy ( -- Friday, June 25 2004, 04:59 am


Great story, I really enjoyed reading it!!!!
Name:                                           Remember Me

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