cave

The pads of her fingers were tingling, and so she thrust them behind her back as if they would betray her excitement. Her face, long trained in serenity, didn't show a bit of her rising excitement.

The cave walls were lit up by the yellow electric glow of the lanterns, and Petri was standing proudly before the wall, his chest puffed out as if he had painted the figures there.

She raised her lantern higher, to direct light upon the crest of moving figures outlined on the wall in red and orange ochres. Her eyes drunk in the flowing limbs and spiky hair, and followed the path of the hunter's arrow.

Her eyes tracked up and over the smoky-colored walls, the light bearly keeping up - she spun around to find the scene spiraling up the walls to the ceiling, and there, crouched behind a stalagtite, was a doe brown deer, panting with fear.

She practically leaped onto Jan's shoulders, and if she hadn't been wearing the heavy tread of my boots, she would have stood there to see the the magnificent red doe in all her minute beauty.

And the relentless pursuit of the hunters, nut brown and pale yellow, as they wounld through the crags and outcrops of the wall, stalking their pray - how monumental a journey, how different from the famous images from the upper chambers!

I could see her mind working, I could sense her excitement rising with the deer. This magnificent hunting party was no regular hunting party; there was something basic and grander about this scene. The quickers were thicker, and the hunting stance slightly bigger.

I watched her discover the green in the loincloths of a young man - and her mouth gasp as she realized that women were among the hunters, with the tight bundles of vines and vegetables tied to their backs.

Not for them the role of beater or support, but she also saw, tucked away among the vines, a bow here, a knife there, and in one woman's hands, a long, curved blone-blade. I could see her eyes go wider and white in the darkness.

This Vignette was inspired by petroglyphs at the Ancient World Web.