Grains of Black and White Sand or The Sand Dwellers (draft I)

Grains of Black and White Sand or The Sand Dwellers (draft I)

A Story by I Cast a Shadow

Some mythology that I wrote.


"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein

Isn’t fascinating? Legends, I mean. How they start, where they come from, and how many of them are true? I find that the most fascinating and mystical legends are the ones where we all know of something existing or having existed but have little to no knowledge about the detail of that something existing. Take the ancient druids for example. We all know that they existed as far back as 500BC and that they were pagan and sacrificed many people and performed other rituals and such. We know that they kept little to no written recordings of their history so no one can say for sure whether Stone Henge was built by them or their ancestors. It’s a mystery. There is something in that mystery that has always enticed me. I think that I have always wanted to be a part of that kind of mystery. I find myself at a loss though because perhaps I am a part of a greater mystery. Perhaps years from now some fragment of our existence will fall into the hands of another race or people or perhaps we will be visited after our demise and there will be much to learn. No one can say. All I can say is that I have been ever humbled from the knowledge that tribes people have been resting in the past with simple lives that I somehow long for. I love fictional legends as well that teach lessons. More than that, I love legends that cannot be disproven or notions of things that we cannot see possibly existing beyond our grasps. 

One story that I am currently working on involves a people whose atmosphere on their planet seems to be a window to something of another realm that they perceive to be something divine. They become obsessed with reaching this “window” physically and like the people of Babylon began to erect a ziggurat to reach the heavens to inspect the “window”. They actually succeed and one person/creature walks out and gazes at the window face to face and realizes that the “window” is merely a mirror reflection his/her own visage and that from all the way on the ground they had not realized that it was their very reflections that they were seeing from miles high. Perhaps behind the mirror is what they sought after all. That, though, is to be written. I would like to take you now into a world of mystery, fantasy, and legend as I piece together that which is fictional and that which is not. I hope you enjoy it and absorb something from it personally. 

Grains of Black and White Sand or The Sand Dwellers 

by Casey Rae Martin

Long long ago. . . there was a great continent. It was enormous beyond belief and it was greater than any that succeeded it because it was the only continent on the planet. It had no discernible shape that anyone could prove now with numbers and units of measurement but only rough estimates; a blob made up of the current continents that had broken away from it like an evolving amoeba that became more complex and detailed entities. They were honed and as consciousness developed, they were recorded with great fascination and obsession. 

On this great continent, there was also one great river that fed into the continent and branched out. The initial feed of the river was wide. It was so wide that human eyes could not see the other side of the mouth from one side. So just like there was one continent, there was one great river with many tributaries. There was also only one great ocean. All life came from this great ocean and fed itself into the river when the land was formed in the Beginning. The life crawled out of this great river and began to walk upright and notice plant life as well as animal life. 

The continent became green and lush and full of life that fought to survive. It wasn’t long though that two different species began to gain a higher consciousness. One species began to notice things. They were short in height but very muscular and resembled their predecessors who were predators by nature. They also were excellent diggers and burrowers. They saw a rock and used it to kill other forms of life. They relied on this understanding that the rock was intended to be used as a weapon and began to use other things too like wood and pieces of other animals like teeth or spines and even some of their venom. 

The other species, tall and lean, resembled their more simple and herbivorous ancestors. They inherited the same set of wings that their parent species possessed and the species flew quite well; even better and more precise than the ones before. They saw rocks too. As tools and used them as a means to cut vegetation away from the earth and to till up the ground and cultivate crops. They saw the rock as something that had many uses and even discovered that plants could be used as resources as well (rope for tying and pulling, protective roofs from the weather, and to protect their bodies as armor). They built and began to understand that there was a reason that they had been the only ones that understood this knowledge. This second species grew and lived peacefully and respected what they believed to have been given to them by the earth and the great ball of light in the sky. In response, they thanked it for every bounty received and built temples and alters of stone and rope in its honor.

Now, the first species were truly savage and brutal. They saw the thing in the sky too that granted light and seemed to make things grow with warmth and with some kind of invisible force. This first species believed the light to be not a ball, but instead a hole in the sky. They believed this energy that grew life and gave them weapons and warmth poured from the hole from its mysterious source. 

After a time, scouts began to explore from both tribes out and along the rivers for many years developing and pondering the unsolved questions about the great light in the sky. Most accepted that they were destined to use their gifts to reap the harvest from the planet (meat to one and vegetation to the other) until they died as they believed their purpose. It wasn’t until they met one another that tragedy ensued. There was an immediate break out of war between the two tribes. 

Both tribes were puzzled at the other and literally could not grasp the concept of a different perspective. They tried to share their ideas and instead of accepting them, argued them. They both reasoned and brought whom they considered to be their greatest minds together to discuss the matter of whether the great light in the sky was a void or a mass. Both provided excellent and valid hypotheses but neither could accept that they were both correct. War continued. 

The tall and aerial herbivores took to the skies and preyed down on the burrowing meat eaters and for the first. They also did something very curious and also very horrible out of their own protection to not only their race but to their beliefs and all that they had worked for - they murdered the burrowers. They swooped down and picked them up and dropped them from high. They killed them brutally in a great massacre though not all of them died. Many fled in fear of their destruction to themselves and also for their beliefs that they held sacred. In the midst of all the confusion and chaos came something even more chaotic. . .

Deep within the earth, things were shifting and pressure was building from forces that were unseen and therefore unknown by the tribes. A horrific eruption of many mountains simultaneously occurred as well as colossal earthquakes that shook the continent and the oceans. The burrowers thought they were doomed and felt whatever was happening was punishment by either the other tribe or from some giant beneath the earth awakened by the other tribe or by the energy that flow from the great void. . . and some believed that perhaps the void was indeed a ball and was punishing them for blasphemy. 

Meanwhile, the aerial tribe was safe from the quaking and erupting earth as they flew and held on to their lives but with great struggle. The ocean was not safe for the enormous beasts within it prey on the tribe. They could not remain in the sky long for gasses and thick clouds of ash and poison were released. And the ground wasn’t safe either for much of it burned from lava. Nearly all of their history was lost but a few taller monuments that stood like monoliths with no worshippers or forgotten reason. The survivors did the best that they could to remain but after the quakes and eruptions, the river had been blocked off from the continent and gone dry leaving but one large mass of continent. 

Slowly life died away and the continent became a barren desert that was only fed by the rains that came. Almost all plants died but one poisonous tree that flourished greatly. All that remained as a clue of the past were the great gorges of sand where the river had been. The mountains were eroded away by great rains that occurred for many many years after plant life (aside from the venomous tree) ceased to live. 

The most curious thing happened though. Somehow the aerial tribe survived as they were forced to become scavengers for years and years. Naked they roamed and flew about the continent in search for food and shelter. Many took to caves. They began to become tolerable to dehydration being able to store water much like camels do. Their feet also became tolerable to the hard and hot desert floor. Their skin became dark and their outlooks bleak and simple though they still looked to the sun as their mysterious guide. They still visited the monuments from time to time though some forgot precisely why. 

Then a great and miraculous event took place wherein the aerial tribe began to take notice of a strange insect that crawled along the desert. It was black and looked like a round beetle. It could not fly well for it was very heavy. It had a very strong mandible and two large beady eyes. They watched as this beetle somehow was able to climb the poisonous tree and cut away its large billowing fabrics that it grew that looked like sheets of silk though they were thick like leather. They were beautiful as the wind blew and made them billow and wave like a handkerchief alone waving goodbye to something or someone though no one was there. They ranged in color from sage green to beige and the bark of the tree was very dense and heavy but smooth like marble.

The beetles cut away the billowing fabrics and ate them and used them for nests. One day at some time, one of the tribesmen or women accidentally stumbled upon one of the nests and frightened the beetles and came in contact with the material from the tree. Expecting it to kill him/her they panicked, but then they survived. They found that when cut away from the tree, the fabric was safe to use however they wanted. So the aerial tribe -- that now referred to themselves as desert or sand dwellers -- began to rely on the beetles and study them and grow to respect them as they were their saviors and redeemers from a life of miserable scavenging. 

The tribe began to refer to the beetles as sacred things of the earth. Without them life would have no meaning. The sand dwellers began to also notice another beetle. It was exactly the same in the way that it functioned but was a completely different shape. Instead of perfectly circular, it was a pyramid shape with longer mandibles and legs. It looked more like our crabs a bit, though it was a beetle and not a crustacean, although it did have small feeding arms similar to pinchers while the spherical beetles had only forelegs and was more like a bulbous and awkward dung beetle. Much like a bumblebee to us regarding its flight, the sand dwellers were unsure how the spherical beetles walked being as heavy as they were, they packed unusual strength. 

On a sacred day that the sand dwellers call “The Great Day of Balance/Harmony” as it can be not easily translated, it was observed that one of the spherical beetles came across the pyramidal shaped beetle. They killed one another brutally ripping each other apart and then slowly dying with great suffering. This struck the observing sand dweller so that he/she thought long and hard about it and came to a conclusion and brought the story back to his/her tribes people. The sand dwelling observer interpreted that they simply killed each other because they were different. This frightened and depressed the people. The men looked at the women and the women looked at the men still naked. They were afraid of their own observations and understandings so and knew that they were a peace bearing people so they decided to use the mandibles of the dead beetles to carefully cut down billows of silk-leather of different colors and then dye them the same color using the ground up remains of the beetles that killed one another. They threw the silk-leather over their bodies so that everyone looked the same and hid their differences out of fear that one day it might lead to tragedy as (they interpreted) a message from the ball in the sky of foreboding. 

The sand dwellers came to realize that the full body cloaks also protected them from the sun, sand storms, and kept them very warm at night. Aside from eating it, they began to build again structures and houses and rope and monuments for the beetles and the ball in the sky. They made altars for the beetles to live and learned that the beetles would stay in these altars and would cut away billows of silk-leather from trees nearby and take only what they needed, leaving sizable sheets left behind to be eaten, dried for rope, and they even discovered further uses for the resource. They quickly discovered that they could cut one of the trees down using several mandibles strung together tightly like a saw. They used the dead wood for even more civilized and stronger protective fortifications and altars and monuments. Trees were regrown where past had been cut and the people (with constant humility from the beetles and their scavenging past) held patience while a new one grew in its place. The people even were able to make string instruments from the dead beetles, mandibles, and the wood as well as percussive instruments and wood winds. A great tribal renaissance ensued.

The sand dwellers guide was called “The Grand Observer” who took it unto themselves (man or women as hidden by the shrouds dyed by beetles) to observe the surroundings, read nature, and philosophize and interpret for the people. The people would check the Observer’s logic and decide whether it was sound. If disagreement was reached, peaceful compromise or correction from others would ensue. All dwellers came to live by a strong bond of respect for one another and of their surroundings as they knew would result in what they referred to as “a better tomorrow”. 

Every year the sand dwellers would celebrate the day they called “The Great Day of Balance/Harmony” where the Observer had been chosen by the Light Provider (the ball in the sky) to witness the beetles killing each other. Every year more beetles killed one another ever reminding them of their reason and their purpose in the world on the now desert continent. 

Men and women knew very little about each other until they courted. Their activities would be quite romantic ensuing in activities like eating with each other; more notably feeding each other out of signs of respect and fondness. The couple might play and make music together to create a beautiful harmony that would become “their song” that would be named after their individual names that they called themselves. They very seldom saw themselves as individuals but as one tribe living in harmony/balance with the universe. The couples would also make things together and carry out chores and help  one other carrying the other’s load both figuratively and literally.

It wasn’t until they felt sure that they visited the Observer (who would be replaced by their lineage) that they would be judged on whether they were to be bonded as a couple. If they were not seen suitable by the Observer (which was rare) they would be separated and understand that they must trust their leader as a third party observer that their relationship may be too selfish or destructive in some way to the tribe. They would continue to live peacefully as they did not quite recognize one another from their shrouds and would eventually forget the others distinctness like mannerisms or vocal tone. 

If granted permission (as usually was the case), the new couple would be allowed to build a home together and live there forever. Once inside, they would be granted consensually remove one another’s shrouds and view each other naked. It is said that if the couple was of opposing genders (for that chance was one in three) they would engage in wondrous interlocking embrace for hours until physically exhausted and later they would produce offspring. 

The Sand Dwellers as they came to be known later on would come across the burrowers again but they did nor recognize one another nor did they fight but instead mysteriously kept their distance and occasionally the Observer would meet with the lead tribes-person of the burrowers and they would discuss and record their shared views in a private conference. They might exchange gifts but respected one another’s unique resources and creeds. The gifts stood as a new reminder of respect and unity with the world.

Thousands of years passed. Earthquakes struck the land again and the river came rushing back though it slowly became wider and wider and the continent began to separate into smaller ones. The burrowers and the Sand Dwellers were no more such as the power of the world over its inhabitants. Their histories and culture was devoured by cosmic forces they did not understand. They were forgotten completely; erased by water, wind, rock, fire, and ice. 

Later new civilizations would emerge. It wasn’t in their favor that they would understand one another quite as well as the tribes understood one another or even themselves. They disrespected one another, stole, killed, and greedily devoured the land and people around them in search for answers. Power seemed to be a common goal though in every event that power would inevitably be lost or become stolen by another. So instead of living with respect like the Sand Dwellers did with one another and accepting their role with the earth rather than on the earth, the new civilizations made havoc with the other and themselves in great confusion for all of the expanding views. 

Man always dominated over women (in exception for a race of lesbianic women predator warriors that lured men in and killed them like spiders and killed all men that they birthed). Men were naturally dominant when in estrangement to women. Men did not birth so they could easily desert their responsibilities unlike women that have a direct bond with their children (expect in some cases where the women would leave their children to die as well). Men carried their genitalia on the outside while women’s was on the inside providing a sword to shield effect. Where women bare breasts full for the care of their children, men bare brawn that just reassured their egos and caused them to abuse the woman’s breasts with insane lust rather than express the respect for natural function. With man’s strength and women’s opposing grace and beauty, men conquered in almost all ways that they could. There were seldom female leader roles. When they did exist, the women often fell. 

So man conquered unequal to their other half in self expression and diluted understanding throwing off the balance of civility and power struggle reigned supreme. The harmony of the earth was knocked off kilter and it was unclear whether balance would ever be reached on a global level again as eons before with the Sand Dwellers and the burrowing tribe. 

Forever the Sand Dwellers haunt in testimony and monument with invisible existence somewhere in time as the only successful utopian existence. Fortune shone for them and unfortunately their monuments and memories were lost and no one learned from them. Perhaps the coming civilizations will learn from them through some miraculous disaster that once again destroys humans and rebirths them from their own ashes like a phoenix and they will see themselves as their own other; seeing their mistakes from clear slates. Perhaps.

© 2012 I Cast a Shadow

Author's Note

I Cast a Shadow
Abstract. My goal with this particular project is to explore and illustrate through the fantasy genre of fiction the origins of modern humans and indigenous religion and how they affect the cultural development affecting various human traits and roles such as gender roles, philosophy, world view, and demographical developments such as tools, entertainment, food, politics, music, and other naturally developed ideas that derive from immediate environmental exposure. In doing this I wish to bring to light my understanding of new-tribalism and try to illustrate how opposing cultures naturally imperialize one another in order for people to see that evangelism -- both political and religious -- are highly destructive and that a learned respect for natural order and individual existence is necessary in the bringing about of world harmony.

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you have achieved a lot in this story. most of all, you kept it interesting.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I really liked this story. Mythology as well as fiction fantasy are fascinations of mine. This story was a great mixture of both. Excellence in skill and quality of writing. Thumbs up, my friend.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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Added on June 7, 2012
Last Updated on June 7, 2012
Tags: myth, mythology, sand, people, dwellers, balance, tao, taoism, Pangea, harmony, peace, solution


I Cast a Shadow
I Cast a Shadow

Portland, OR

I read classics, science fiction, philosophy, and very little fantasy. I am inspired by Taoism and other Eastern philosophy, anarchy, new concepts, my ancestry, my muse, her family, my own family, .. more..