Ten thousand years ago, a remote, cave-dwelling clan faced the terrors of extinction. Food was scarce and even more difficult to find during the treacherous winter months when ravaging beasts competed for whatever sustenance was left. Out of this fatal circumstance, one teenage boy named Ty had a vision of another tribe somewhere in the vast surrounding forest, perhaps the Antelope People, the tribe that had left his forbearers decades before. These people he hoped would possess better tools and more advanced ideas to save his Kishoki clan from starvation.
Ty persuades two of his most loyal friends – wings – the burly, powerful fighter, Ko, and the young spear-thrower, Shum, to join him in his secret quest. His teenage sweetheart, Sita, insists that she go along. Sita had been studying with the clan’s Chief Shaman for several years. She understands potions and in her dreams, star-steppings as she calls them, she has had glimpses of future worlds. Against the protests of his two comrades, Ty finally relents and the four Kishoki teenagers start off at dawn into the unknown forest world.
In a midnight life-and-death battle against the forest’s gargantuan, most terrifying beast, they miraculously prevail, slaying the dreaded emmydactyl. In their victory ritual, each of the boys tastes the blood of the beast. Soon, they become violently ill. Sita saves them with her potions but, somehow, the combination of emmydactyl blood and the potions, sends their psyches hurtling into the Twenty-first Century.
On a mountain top, totally bewildered and unable to speak or understand the language, they encounter a young filmmaker, Darren Davies, shooting a carpet commercial for his rich father, the owner of giant carpet stores throughout Southern California. Sita understands that the golden shell the Chief Shaman had given Ty holds the power of language. With her assistance and the power of the shell, Ty and his wings quickly grasp the new foreign tongue – English.
Darren, totally absorbed in building his film career, mistakes the four dark-skinned teenagers, dressed in leather jerkins, with bedrolls on their backs, for a marketable rap group and invites them to his home where they can call or email their parents. The teenage time-travellers are enchanted by ceiling lights, a stove, fridge, and the magical crystal called TV. Darren doesn’t believe their cave story, but, their exuberant reaction to window displays at a local mall, gives him pause. The boys fall in love with the wonders of the modern world, the movie Star Wars, pizza, tacos, baseball in the backyard and rollercoaster rides at the Santa Monica Pier. Ty becomes obsessed with skateboarding and the idea of wheels. Sita delights in her Macy’s camisoles, jeans, platform shoes and a cosmetic make-over.
But their presence creates terrible problems for Darren. His girlfriend belittles the wings for their inability to call their parents or find their way back to their caves. Darren’s therapist thinks the kids are pulling a grand con-game on him. His father, who holds title to the house, demands the “colored” kids leave. And Sita’s constant confrontations with Darren, challenging his behavior and thinking, infuriates him.
Slowly, trust builds between Darren and the Kishoki kids. Their wisdom and courage force him to reflect on his own shallow life. In helping Darren to free himself from his father’s meddling yoke and, at the same time, establish his own identity, the teenagers realize they are all one family, no matter how many centuries separate them.
Still, Ty must safely lead his comrades back in time ten thousand years and bring with him, in the face of clan derision and disbelief, the gift that will save his people.
$14.95 / Perfectbound
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