Predator or Prey
Milvana, a young female black kite, spotted the weasel on the old rock. A small mammal on a rock. Was this the one? The meeting… If not, it was food. She was hungry and her eyes were sharp and with yellow legs extended, her talons precise. Her dark claws grabbed and gripped the tiny body. Feeling the weight beneath her, she ascended slowly at first. She was over the tall pines on the ridge in several wing beats. Warm air currents lifted her higher and in the direction of her mountain nest. She could feel the beating heart. of the weasel. She had caught him and kept him alive. This went against her instincts. She hadn’t eaten for days since the loss of her nest.
It had been a dismal early spring. So much rain. Sudden storms. On the flight over the yellow sands of the Sahara, several of her family group had perished. A starving eagle owl had managed to dive and kill one of her siblings in the twilight beauty of the desert. The sky was blood red with the setting sun. Death was always to be accepted. Death was also to be avoided. Milvana’s family of black kites could live long lives. This was the second year of her life and her first year to mate, build a nest and lay her eggs. She had heard her young tapping inside. There was a sense of expectancy. She knew her task to raise them would be a challenge. But they didn’t even hatch out. On return from a quick hunting spree, they were gone. A sudden storm had upturned her nest.
The high rock where she had laid those unhappy eggs was nearby. There was still no sign of her mate. He had disappeared when the great lights flashed in the sky. She turned her wings away from where she had made her nest. She would not land there with the weasel. She had a sense, for her, it was a place of death, perhaps her own death
While Milvana was unsure about this creature between her talons, she suspected that the weasel was also struggling to come to terms with this view of the world. He had made no attempt to react and bite. At first the view high above the valley had been breath-taking, and then she knew that it took away his breath. Milvana felt the weasel gasp for air and then go limp. Her instincts told her the animal was playing dead and could slip from her grasp. She had to grip on tight and wait and see.
Turning with a warm westerly wind, Milvana flew up as high as she dared. She did not want to scare the weasel for fear it might attack. The warm air currents helped lift her wings and lighten the load. She flew higher and higher with the air currents becoming cooler, well aware that the small creature her claws were gripping onto was warm but barely alive. It could still bite her on the ankles, tough and scaly though they were. With both legs extended and claws holding on, she attempted to beat her wings down to push herself up higher and faster. A bite from the weasel would mean both would die at this height. She had heard about wily weasels.
A shiver of fear caused her to ruffle her feathers as she remembered a tale told by an ancestor. An old black kite had grabbed a weasel as prey and the beast had turned its head and bit through the aged foot. The bird had dropped the weasel in a surge of pain and then plummeted to its death. What happened to the weasel was not known. But the advice from then on had been to avoid the long, thin, furry creatures with snarling teeth. Why had she got herself into this situation? Carrying a live weasel, going against the knowledge of her ancestors, was a great risk.
She detected a change in the weasel, less warm now, and there were tiny shudders. The weasel must survive the flight but she needed a safe place to keep it. Her vision was good. More rocky ledges to the north. This was the direction of her mission. She began her descent and felt the weasel twitch. Still alive then. Still hope.
Milvana and her ancestors had been drawn to the mountains near the hidden valley of Navaselva and had heard the call to commune with other creatures in the Meetings of the Many. Their knowledge of different lands was welcomed, and there were even ancient stories passed on by the Black Kites of the East. Her ancestors had shared these stories. Stories and experiences stored deep within the kite gene. Milvana wondered if these stories might help her now as she ventured into an unknown direction with a sharp-toothed weasel. One story was of a kite named Govind, a kite looked down upon by other messenger birds as the lowest of the low. This kite had become a carrion eater like crows and ate dead bodies. Kites should know how to kill prey not scavenge. But Govind made a brave journey across the great heights of cold, white rocks to rescue the lost bird of paradise. This bird’s bravery made Milvana feel humble. Courage was needed and a different way of seeing and being in the world.
Milvana remembered being called in the early hours of dawn to the Meeting of the Many. Her family elders had been present all through the night and there was a buzz about a bumble bee, a bee-eater bird and the need to fly a weasel north. The meeting had a mission set out, and she had felt compelled to offer her service as messenger and carrier. She was strong. She was now without responsibilities. Maybe she had been too eager in committing herself to such a challenging task. She was still grief stricken by the loss of her eggs and nest. The memory of that violent storm brought back feelings of fear, of being unsafe. Perhaps she really was not in the best state to help. But she was stronger now and could fly the distance. She could carry the weasel to the north.
There was no attempt from this weasel to communicate. She kept flying. Had she caught the wrong animal? She was aware that the weasel could summon up strength from its tiny body and attack her on landing.
At one point, Milvana felt the weasel come alert and tense with a desire to kill her. As she flew on, he seemed to drift in and out of consciousness but he gave her no sign that he was the chosen one. His body and bones grew so cold she could feel the chilling of her own claws. She must land soon.
When she reached the crags, Milvana shoved the body of the weasel into a crevice on a rocky ledge. There was not much room but she squeezed into the space near him. Was he going to stir? She kept a short but measured distance as she surveyed the windswept skies. Another great storm was brewing.
Within the depths of her sharp brain Milvana sized up the situation. The wild killer instinct was still a glint in her eye but she was also allowing the influence of the Meeting of the Many to calm her. The stories of Govind, a kite of super strength, gave her courage. Govind had also carried the most venomous of snakes, the cobra, and saved its life for the sake of the Many in the far-off land of Ind.
The weasel’s eyes opened. So he was alive. Would he strike first? His claws were sharp and his head full of snarling killer teeth. His eyes were glaring right into her own wild eye. Did he understand his disadvantage? The weasel trembled. Yes, he did realise she could kill him with one dash of her hooked beak.
Milvana knew she was risking her life but she stretched her neck out in front of the weasel. From the ancient stories of Govind, she knew that creatures could be carried on the backs of the great birds. Did the weasel know this? Was the weasel so frightened it could not understand her gesture? If the weasel was going to kill her then she would accept this. The loss of her eggs made her feel dark within like flying in a starless sky. She was becoming indifferent to death. There was no more to lose.
Still shivering with cold and fear, the weasel’s attack position changed to submission. Milvana was both surprised and relieved. Her feathers radiated warmth and the cold weasel climbed on, nestling into her. Outside was a dark stormy sky but the dark heaviness within her lifted as she listened in to the slight snoring breaths of the tiny weasel exhausted and asleep.
Her journey had begun with great fear and uncertainty. Now Milvana and the weasel could rest and roost together. Rest was overcoming her fear. This must be the right weasel, Comadrito from Navaselva. There was some sign that he was beginning to understand her but his mind was still closed with exhaustion.
It was a grey and misty breaking of the dawn. Milvana was only half awake when there was a screaming sound and a flash of raised wings just above the roof of the ledge. It was a male black kite. It had smelt her out. Milvana knew from the sound this was not her mate that disappeared on the night of the great lights. This was another, and it was trying to squeeze into the ledge. It was too dangerous to emerge with the weasel, but fly away they must. She must guard the weasel as if he was her young. The male kite could kill Comadrito with one talon blow.
This kite was without the knowledge of the Meetings of the Many and would only have one purpose: to mate with her. There was a part of her that felt this was another chance to raise some young: her gift to the future. But she had made her pledge for the future of the Many and also to the life of this brave little weasel. She understood how terrifying it must have been for the weasel; to be taken up into the sky, into her territory, her views, not his.
Milvana must play a game of bluff. Subterfuge. The young male kite could not fully see her or get close to her within the ledge. To confuse him, she made noises like she had heard older females make. What she hadn’t bargained for was Comadrito’s courage. He jumped off her neck to bare his teeth and swish his tail. This movement gave the male bird a sudden shock. It flew off within seconds. Milvana knew then how each was going to need the other on this journey. The journey they had been chosen to undertake for the Many.
The challenge now was to try flying with Comadrito on her back. It was nerve-wracking to have a weasel so close to her neck but he was warm there and seemed well balanced. She would need to fly high, as the male kite was in the area and definitely on the lookout for a female. And she was an ideal mate. There was great strength in her genes.
Another problem to solve was keeping the weasel warm enough in flight. Milvana knew she had to fly high. Too low and they were likely to be mobbed by the corvid families or even attacked by other kites, harriers and eagles in their own territories. It was known that low flying during migration could even mean a vulture landing and breaking a kite’s back. This was the nature of their lives, a constant struggle to adapt and survive. Those who had learnt to communicate from being at the Meetings of the Many were few and it was no advantage if another was in need of food. The Meeting of the Many had sent her on a flight path she did not know but she did know this put her at great risk.
She decided to fly off when she thought the sun was too hot for the other kite to be about and it would be warmer for the weasel. Her instincts were usually right but she had little experience of the male of her species.
Milvana flew some distance over hills once burnt by wildfires and now covered in gum cistus. The weasel seemed to fit well within the smaller feathers between her back and neck. Suddenly there was a sharp dig of claw as the weasel tensed up. A large bird was descending and about to crash down on her. Milvana feared it was the male kite attempting to attract her attention and land on her in mid-flight. This was a common way of showing interest in mating. Without any regret for a lost love, she made a rapid ascent into the greater heights of the sky and flew on northwards.
After some changing of the light, Milvana sensed the weasel was struggling to breathe and so she descended towards some water. There were trees dotted about, but it was not natural growth like a forest. In between these trees, were many animals kept by Outsiders. It was surprising to see so many of these ones all in one place. They had tall ears and dark crosses on their backs. She was more used to the bigger black lowing cattle or small grunting pigs that ranged between the spreading branches of these encina oaks. These kept ones were the donkeys but had wild, determined spirits. She landed upon the grass instead of a tree so that Comadrito could slip down to the ground easily. She felt his mind begin to speak to her. He seemed worried that Milvana would leave him with one of the donkeys for his journey north. He was happy to fly with her now and didn’t want a donkey ride. He was sure a donkey would not find its way north like a great messenger bird could.
An indignant donkey brayed loudly. Calling himself Burrito, or “little donkey,” he assured them both that he did know the way north. Once he had trotted on a well-travelled track with an Outsider. And this Outsider never once got on his back. Burrito just carried some light weights which the Outsider would take off each night, make into a sleeping place and light a fire. He was a lucky donkey without the burden of heavy loads.
Milvana watched Comadrito’s tail twitch, trying to understand the donkey’s views on Outsiders. His nerves were on edge but he gained courage to delve deeper into the donkey’s story.
What did an Outsider look like?
How could it make things?
What was fire?
Milvana was amazed that this weasel had never seen an Outsider; and only knew about them from stories. Although, she thought, Comadrito was lucky not to know anything about fire. Burrito seemed surprised too but offered to help educate Comadrito. The truly wild knew so little of this species that was almost everywhere
‘Stay until the fall of light. Outsiders will come to feed the donkeys.’ These, Burrito informed, were kind Outsiders who helped the donkeys. But before coming to the sanctuary many of the donkeys had been injured or starved by other Outsiders.
Milvana wanted to know if there was a way to tell the difference between Outsiders who helped and Outsiders who harmed. From her knowledge it was safest to stay well away from all Outsiders. But she knew Comadrito might need to know the difference if he was to follow the instructions given at the Meeting of the Many. She was realising how little knowledge of the world outside Navaselva Comadrito had. He did not even know that Outsiders kept many different kinds of animals. Burrito was willing to show some things to Comadrito but could not help with how to know the difference between harmful and unharmful Outsiders.
Milvana stayed by the water’s edge waiting for the chance to fish. The weasel went looking for plentiful mice near the donkey food. Life was taken and life was given. Her stomach was full with fish and she dozed half asleep with one eye open on a branch. With this eye she could see Comadrito asleep at the base of the tree but also with one eye alert. She was waiting with some trepidation for the temperatures to cool and these Outsiders to arrive.
Both Milvana’s eyes opened suddenly and wide. She felt a shock wave of fear from the weasel. An Outsider was in sight but it was Comadrito’s nose and sense of smell that was overwhelmed. And then his ears could not cope with all their noises too. She tried to calm him as she feared he would just run fast away and she would lose him. Then the donkeys brayed so loudly that the Outsiders seemed quiet in comparison. Comadrito stood his ground but was struggling to understand that these Outsiders were animals. Milvana could understand this confusion as she remembered her first encounter. Outsiders stood on two legs, a little like birds but the other two limbs just seemed to wave around. There certainly was no way they could fly. Milvana knew these waving limbs that never seemed to touch the ground had clever claws. Later Burrito explained these as ‘manos’. It was these that could make things like fire. These ‘manos’ gave the donkeys food and also helped heal a donkey’s bad foot and clean up the coat. But the ‘manos’ of some Outsiders could hold sticks of fire and with loud noises bring down many messenger birds from the skies some dead and some slowly dying with cries of pain.
Comadrito found the Outsiders unlike animals in so many ways. In looks they appeared to have no feathers or fur, but just loose skin folded around them. And so Milvana explained how they struggled to keep themselves warm and needed fire for their food too. She had once seen a whole wild pig hung over a fire and the smell of pig flesh burning stayed in her nostrils for a long time.
Comadrito was alarmed but curious. He wanted to see these Outsiders make fire. This surprised Milvana but Burrito knew how to help. For this Comadrito had to be taken close to the dwelling places of some Outsiders. Milvana agreed to take him as she too was curious and wanted to see if Outsiders made their nests from the rocks. These looked like nature’s rocks but were broken down and were without the deep resonance of real rocks. It seemed mountain rocks would be broken up, carried by donkeys, and then stacked up again to create a different kind of cave often in wide valleys.
Milvana was grateful for Burrito’s help finding an Outsider home on the edge of many of a collection of broken rocks. Outsiders, it seemed, needed to live close to others of their kind. Milvana understood the need to flock together. She felt Comadrito’s confusion. Why was this needy and strange-looking creature, without fur or feather part of so many of the horror stories shared at the Meetings of the Many? Milvana knew why from her African journey and warned him to beware of appearances.
After landing on the warm red top of one of these homes Milvana went closer to the ground to find an opening for Comadrito to look through. There was an inside to the broken rock where the Outsider went in, hollowed out rock, like the old stories of the cave times. Burrito had once lived by this Outsider home when he was not well. This was the opening he would often look through entranced by the burning glow giving out warmth in the wintry cold.
It was still cold in the evenings in this hard land of extreme temperatures; Extremadura. Milvana watched Comadrito staring for a long time, transfixed by bright orange movement and red heat. She feared he knew no fear of fire. The acrid smell of burning reminded her of flying away from a whole forest dying in flames. She struggled to get Comadrito away. He was too fascinated by fire. The dark was drawing in and they needed a safe roost and then try to find news of that bee-eater.
As the African sun, warm, even in the light of the early morning, rose to shine into the compound, the young black kite would tap at the wooden door of the rangers’ cabin. It was always at the same time. They had the food ready from the night before and would put it out bleary eyed. The young kite never attempted to fly or go beyond the fencing. Everyone loved to watch at close hand its antics, the way it preened its feathers but in particular the way it looked at you as if it had a story to tell.
There was concern about whether it had been injured or whether to return it to the wild. But that morning it never tapped at the door, or ever again. That was the day so much went wrong and the storms began.
Another sheet of paper, another beginning and with no signs of any middles or ending. Jay Ro flicked through the piles of A4. Was this pile all the possible beginnings of stories? Should she take these back to her grandmother? Would these scraps of writing help keep her nana’s mind busy, alive, creative again? No, she must find the novel, that’s why she was here.
But this opening was different in some way. This seemed to be about Nana G’s experiences many years ago when she worked in Africa.
Jay Ro feared her nana’s mind might get lost in the muddy waters of her mysterious past with this opening. She never really talked much about her youth in Africa but her nana was deeply affected by some of her experiences there. Jay Ro remembered some conversations about this. One was the summer just after Jay Ro’s dog, Susu, died. Jay Ro was at Navaselva and broke down in tears when she came across a dead baby bird. It reminded her of finding her beloved pet dog dead. Nana G seemed to really understand the intensity of love Jay Ro had for all animals but especially how she felt about the loss of Susu, her special friend.
To help her talk, Nana G had suggested a walk along the special path. They sat on the rounded rock when for the first time Jay Ro told of the nightmares. She would come down the stairway, open the living room door and see dead bodies, sometimes the dog, sometimes her father, mother, friends. She gulped, not wanting to say, even you because she did fear her nana was old and old people die.
Nana G held her hand and said, ‘Hold onto the good memories of Susu. Think back to a happy memory and see it, hear it, feel it.’ Jay Ro could hear the pounding of paws, Susu rushing through bracken in the park and then gently holding Jay Ro’s hand with a soft mouth, no teeth digging in but firmly pulling her back to a safe place. It was a game for Jay Ro and Susu would always find her. Jay Ro felt the surge of happiness and fun she used to have with this dog.
It was the following year when her grandad suddenly died. Perhaps this was what Jay Ro should do now with the memories of Grandad Joseph who lived with them since she was about five. Was it because she had buried her memories somewhere so deep that her mind seemed to be losing them now? Why did she do that? Because it made her sad, was the simple answer and then she was caught up in her teen times. Now, she struggled to remember the everyday normality of being with him as he lived with them. So much of each day was the same but precious.
It was later that day after talking about Susu that Nana G told her about her first love and loss of a wild animal. She was doing volunteering work in Africa, in Kenya. It was her dream to help the animals there and they rescued a young black kite that couldn’t fly properly. This was the first wild animal Nana G became close to and she cried when it just disappeared. There were no feathers, signs of a predator, it just wasn’t there that grey overcast morning.
‘I hate it when animals, or people just go missing.’ Her eyes which usually twinkled and smiled at you went distant.
Later that evening Nana G found an old film on YouTube of Elsa the lioness. This, she said was her reason for going to Africa. She wanted to help wild creatures stay wild and be forever free. Wild animals learn how to adapt and survive and they live with death. We must too. It’s part of life but we must get on with the living.
Jay Ro looked back at the writing about the kite and felt sadness creeping into her. She wanted to be back home with family and Nana G and give everyone a hug. There was too much death and dying going on in the world. Perhaps she could talk more about her grandad, perhaps all the family needed to talk more and share their memories. Nana G’s heart was in Africa but there were some difficult stories from her time there.
This writing about the black kite had an even darker edge to it. Why had that day led to more grief? Jay Ro knew from the most difficult conversation she ever had with her nana. . Nana G had come to visit during Jay Ro’s troubled teen times when everyone was very careful not to tread on her toes or question her too much. But Nana G did.
‘Are you in love? Is that why you are so thin?’ A pause and a long look, followed by, ‘Be careful you don’t want to be pregnant at your age.’
Jay Ro remembered her own furious retort and could even smile at it now if her nana had not revealed her own guilty secret.
When Nana G’s face dropped into a sad, faraway expression, Jay Ro realised it was nothing to do with her words. Nana G was tough, Jay Ro knew sharp words wouldn’t make her cry. Unlike her own sensitive responses to any comment.
‘What’s wrong, Nana G?’
‘There is, you always told me to share, to talk about what makes us cry. I didn’t hurt you, did I?’
‘It was a bit out of order.’ Nana G gave Jay Ro a teacherly look over the rim of her glasses.
‘You are the one who doesn’t usually preach at me.’
‘I wasn’t preaching. Was I? I just don’t want you to make a really life-changing mistake. Like me.’
Jay Ro almost didn’t hear the ‘like me’, she paused. She remembered her overriding urge to go out with her friends but knew this needed to be listened to. One of her friends thought she was pregnant or making it up for attention. Would she keep it or have an abortion? These were life-changing events which upset Jay Ro and made her anxious. She questioned her nana.
‘What happened to you?’
Nana G’s words reverberated even now, several years later, in Jay Ro’s head.
‘I lost a baby. I was 19. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.’
There was a long silence. Jay Ro struggled to find some words.
‘You told me to remember and feel the good memories when we lose someone.’ Jay Ro echoed the words her nana once said to her. But her nana’s reply shocked Jay Ro.
‘There were no good memories. I didn’t even know there was a baby inside. I was just taken to the local hospital. I didn’t even see the baby, hold the baby. I was told it was not fully formed and had only just become a foetus. I was left on my own with a smell of disinfectant. Perhaps my only memory as I cannot stand the smell or hospitals.
‘ I was then sent back to the UK as soon as I was considered fit enough. I was put on a plane and taken thousands of miles away from David. I will never know if he knew he was a father or that it was not my choice to leave. I was too weak to protest. The volunteer organisation wanted me out of the way, perhaps I was a disgrace.
My mother wanted me back too. In fact, my mother and father were very understanding and I learnt that my mother had a miscarriage. Your mother was luckier but I do remember her sending me the eighteen-week scan of you. It was wonderful, so tiny and perfectly formed, so alive but I cried with joy and grief.’
Jay Ro remembered the way her nana looked closely at her and the look penetrated into her thin arms.
‘We must share and support each other. We are here to help you.’
Jay Ro knew she was then an embarrassed teenager and she did not like her emotions being exposed. The loss of her grandad had sunk into some recess of her brain. She couldn’t let it out but it made her angry. Then there was the new revelation about adult lives. Childhood relationships were changing. She wanted to distract from her own issues so she asked about the name she had never heard before.
‘Who was David?’
‘David, David Mwangi. He came from a Kenyan Quaker family. They wanted him to be a doctor. He wanted to work and protect the wild animals. He rescued the black kite and gave it a chance to recover. He was one of the best friends I ever had. I never saw him again either; it was as if he too disappeared. And that bird was incredible, so intelligent. Wild but ready to engage with us like a friend. It knew we were helping.’
Jay Ro felt worse. She was not sure she had ever had really good friends; ones who it was easy and natural to be with except Gaia. Jay Ro realised now how Tracy and her friends could manipulate and there was her desperate need to prove herself worthy of their attention. Hence the dramatic loss of weight as she starved herself. These were not good memories, were they?
Nana G’s story made Jay Ro cry then and even now tears welled up. She had never thought about when her nana was young. She just thought of her as old and her mother’s mother.
Jay Ro looked back down at the page, the beginning of a story. Her heart beat faster as she thought about that day Nana G wrote about. It was not just about losing the black kite. It must have been the same time when Nana G lost the baby.
Was Nana G going to write her African memoirs? Jay Ro would like to know more now, even if it was just for the family. But it might be painful too, bringing up the past. Was Nana G’s heart still in Africa? What had happened to David? Had she buried the past like Jay Ro buried her grandad in her mind? Jay Ro knew now she must not bury Gaia or her own past. However hard, these were stories to talk about and share.
It was after this revelation by Nana G that Jay Ro felt able to speak to her about her problems, the girls who were really bullying her but she wanted as friends and Gaia. Gaia who they called Heinz 57. It was often an in-joke but not usually understood by others, especially most of the young teachers, but old Mrs Mackay had confronted them on this when she overheard it in class.
Nana G invited Gaia to come out to Navaselva the following Easter. Jay Ro remembered Nana helping Gaia fill in a health form and state her ethnicity. There was: White, White Irish, Asian, Indian, Afro Caribbean, African, European and Other. Gaia shrugged and said, ‘Guess I have to tick ‘Other’.’
‘Okay, so if you don’t mind me asking where are all your family from?’
‘You really want to know? It could take a while. And where are they now? It’s another old sob story.’ Gaia seemed quite defiant but told Nana G the story she never told anyone else.
‘My mother’s mother was from Romania and my grandfather too but with Romany blood from the borders of Afghanistan. They lived in Belgium for a while where my mother was born. When my mother moved to London she met my father. His mother was half Irish/Punjabi and his father was from Jamaica. I was born in the UK but neither of my parents had British citizenship. Although my father was born in London it seems he did not belong. He had no passport and could not go with my mother to visit her family. Suddenly he just disappeared out of our lives. That was when my mother went back to Romania, taking me with her. I only have vague memories but I had started nursery school and could speak English. My mother became ill, I think of some women’s issue but no one liked to speak about it. I was still very young and confused by the different language around me. I remember how thin she became but thought she looked elegant. I had no idea she was dying and then suddenly she was gone. I came back from school and was told she had died. My grandmother looked after me until I was ready for secondary school. She thought it a good idea to come and have an English education and stay with some relatives. But no one wanted me really. I was called names at school and even with the relatives.’
Nana G sat silently, but put her arm around Gaia. Later after a delicious soup and some cakes Nana G told Gaia how amazing she was.
‘Gaia, what an amazing combination of genes and languages, what an example of our common humanity and roots. You are out of Africa, out of eastern Europe, out of the Punjab and even out of England. Our English language is probably only 1000 years old and also came out of the Punjab with its Indo-European roots. Times that by 200 and its 200,000 years ago when we all came out of Africa. Just a blink ago in the fascinating history of our mother earth. Those are roots to be proud of.’
The following day there were some birds of prey in the sky. Nana G pointed out the different species.
‘Birds have an older heritage than us from dinosaur times; 200 million years ago, from feathered theropods and archaeopteryx, the mother of all birds. Red kites, black kites, are two different species, Milvus milvus, and Milvus migrans, but all of us billions on this earth are all Homo sapiens and whether some like the idea or not, are all part of the animal kingdom and one species. We share DNA with the plant kingdom. Our DNA connects us to the beginnings of life on this planet. Yes, there is some variation of face, hair and skin colour with us humans but it is tragic why that little difference, even now, can make some people so cruel and superior, or others ignorant and unkind. This has cost too many lives, ruined lives and continues even when we have better knowledge of our histories.’
Jay Ro was glad Gaia was happy in the short time she stayed at Navaselva that year before all the major problems started. Gaia even began to look up her roots and be proud of her multifaceted heritage. However, Gaia was then trapped and pushed along a dangerous path but it was the one Jay Ro had led her into. This was the one shadow that kept hovering over her. It was not just guilt but a fear. Jay Ro’s only contact now with Gaia was social media but why had these accounts, usually so busy, glamorous and positive, gone silent?
Where was Gaia now? Was she missing? What did missing mean for a striking young woman in an urban jungle?