The following short story was born in an experimental process between painter John Norman (AUS) and myself. Narin´s (TH) phenomenal sculpt of an aboriginal Predator inspired the both of us to come up with a background story about this hunter. Based on a plot by John (a predator crash-lands on the Australian continent, is saved by a native tribe and out of respect and fascination from there on lives with them the traditional ways) I started to write the first lines. It went on as a parallel creative process of painting the kit in Australia and writing the story in Germany. By regularly sending pictures of the different stages of John´s work in progress, I tried to transfer his building up and painting ideas into the continuation of the Aboriginal´s story. Within a view weeks not only the story became bigger and bigger, but also the Aboriginal´s base. John sculpted a whole new setting for this Predator by adding a water covered extension with a big trunk coming out of it, and also he accentuated the whole new base with vegetation on the tree, between the stones and on the water surface! The result is pure awesomeness and a one-of-a-kind piece of art! I hope you enjoy the read, surely you will enjoy the galleries of John´s fantastic version of a true (Ab)original sculpt!
Chapter 1: A primal Curse
In the Aboriginal culture many ancient myths and stories spring from the so-called Dreamtime. The world of the Dreamtime consists of an universal, space- and timeless existence that constantly affects our real world. Responding like an echo, the real world itself has an impact on the Dreamtime by its own events and incidents.
The year is 1789. Some place deep in the Terra Australis. Within three weeks, two well-experienced tribesmen had fallen victim to a giant crocodile. What they had in common: they both had one older, physical brother. When the news of a third victim occurred, and this tribesman also had one elder brother, the wise men of the tribe connected these incidents to an ancient, tragic myth from the Dreamtime about two brothers, who once loved the same woman. So they began to tell that myth again: When the older brother married the woman, the younger one could not cope with the spurned love. One day, when they both went fishing, they discovered a crocodile sleeping on the bank of a water hole. The younger man persuaded his brother to sneak up on the animal and put a noose around his mouth, so that they could fish in peace and abundantly. But the crocodile did not sleep. The moment the older brother wanted to put the noose around his mouth, it quickly opened his jaw and tore his body in half. The younger brother exclaimed: “Do not worry, brother, I will take care of your wife from now on."
Chapter 2: Brother from the Stars
The wise men firmly believed that the once killed, older brother had somehow transcended from the Dreamtime to the real world in the physical form of a giant crocodile. Deeply filled with anger and grief about his betrayal, his hopeless search for his younger brother made him take revenge on all younger brothers that crossed his way. After a long discussion amongst the wise men how to prevent even worse, the elder decided to send their best warrior to hunt for the giant crocodile and to push this cursed spirit back to the Dreamtime once and for all. His Name: Gagaan Budhu.
Not only he was their best warrior, he himself was kind of a supernatural being. He was a Predator on an earth mission, which initially went wrong: Fallen from the stars in a fireball and badly injured on the impact, he was salvaged by the tribe and in a long process brought back to life using traditional rites and medicine. Back then, almost two generations ago, it was the elder himself who first found him at the crash put and called for his father to save this fierce looking visitor from another dimension. The tribe believed this creature had been sent to them in order to test their loyalty and spiritual connection to the Dreamtime.
After his recovery, the tribal council decided not to send him away. They offered to affiliate the Predator, to also teach him the ancient language and their way of life, and, of course, to train him in the traditional arts of hunting. Grateful for rescuing him and getting him back to health, the Predator also was fascinated by their myths, their deep connection with the surrounding nature, and their thousands of years old ways of hunting. Although knowing his mission was still active, he accepted the offer. In a honorably receptive rite, the elder gave him his new aboriginal name: Gagaan Budhu, the Brother from the Stars. At first, many were afraid of his oversized stature and wild appearance. But by internalizing their way of living, their strong believes in the Dreamtime, and by learning and adapting quickly the ancient hunting techniques and tactics from his warrior brothers, he soon became a valuable member of the community. Nevertheless, he always had been aware of the fact, that a new, technically progressed world was rather sooner than later knocking at these people´s front door to change everything. But for now he had to face a different, more primal threat – a giant killer crocodile that had already shed too much blood amongst his brothers
Chapter 3: The Hunt for the mystic Reptile
To appease the spirits of the Dreamtime and to transfer mystic powers into the Predator, the tribe held a coorroboree in order to prepare him for the dangerous journey lying ahead of him. From youngest to oldest, the whole village participated in that event. They sang, they danced, they told each heroic war stories and painted their bodies in traditional color schemes using yellow, white, black and deep red. And so, in the very same night, the Predator set out alone into the darkness, equipped with his spear, dagger and boomerang, wearing proudly the traditional stripes on his face and body.
Slowly the Predator moves through the thicket towards the bank of a water hole surrounded by mangroves. His hunt for the creature from the Dreamtime has lasted for almost two nights and two days now and let him to this water hole. The humid and sultry heat in this area doesn't bother him – on the contrary -– the Predator is in his element here. He doesn't miss any movement, he doesn't miss any rustling. As highly concentrated he is, as clear is his assignment: To track down and kill the beast, to bring the redeeming message to his tribe, and last but not least: to secure his hunting trophy.
It's dry season. The basin, which is wide in extent, carries less water already. The clearly visible edge of the bank is proofing it. But still, it is difficult to judge how deep the water in that basin really goes. The Predator knows: the advantage of a fighting situation in or even under the water would clearly be on his opponent´s side, so he is scouting for a good spot on the landside. Over the years his eyes had been able to adapt more and more to the planet's environment, but his sight would never get as sharp as it used to be back on his home planet. The crash landing had destroyed every technical equipment, his weapons and with them his biomask had vanished in the flames. Within this area, his biomask easily could have found any prey in the thermal mode; his shoulder gun would have done the rest. But that way of hunting belongs to the past. In the here and now it is boomerang, dagger and spear. Ancient weapons against an ancient creature. Experience and instinct against pure primal rage. That is how legends are born!
The Predator lets his gaze wander around the basin. About 150 feet from his present position, a small, rocky plateau emerges, mostly free of vegetation. Below it, a massive trunk of a dead mangrove tree rises out of the greenish-brown, half-opaque swamp water. The Predator feels almost magically drawn to that spot. There it is! Exactly at this spot he is going to end the hunt.
With his full presence he now stands on the plateau and alternately observes the bank of the basin and the surface of the water. The dagger sits firmly at his loincloth; in his right hand he holds his boomerang. The left hand leads his spear. He is ready to swing, throw, sting. The minutes pass. Everything seems quiet.
Suddenly, a rapid movement on the opposite bank. As fast as an arrow shot, something very big and massive glides out of the mangrove jungle into the water - and dives into it just as quickly. Judging by the movements on the water surface, it knows only one direction – towards the plateau where the predator is standing. Halfway it emerges from the water. Parts of its snout, back comb and tail appear. And only now the full dimension of this giant crocodile becomes clear. It must be about 8 meters long and certainly weigh over a ton. What a colossus of a reptile, a predator itself – and truly an equal opponent! No more waiting, no more ambush. This fight will be staged fully frontal and for one of them it will be the final one. The Predator feels a vigorous rush coming all over him – exactly that rush it is, what he has been yearning for! Blood is shooting through his veins; he literally feels his thickened scars on his chest and stomach. There is no doubt about it: today more scars will be added.
Chapter 4: Duel to the Death
The giant crocodile stops his movement acutely, less than four meters now separate the two. Its snout is sticking out completely out of the water, turned towards the Predator. For a moment it looks like as if the scene has been frozen: The reptile is not moving, and so the Predator holds still. And yet it's clear that both beasts are ready for a lethal fight.
All of a sudden and with full power, the crocodile spins out of the water and heads straight for the Predator. The few meters distance between the two opponents are overcome in a fraction of a moment. To get close enough, it has dragged half its full body length out of the water, willing to snap for the upper body of the Predator with its jaw wide open.
The Predator responds with and enormously fast reaction, deflecting the attack with a lateral movement downwards, ramming his boomerang right in between the reptile's lower and upper jaws. Accompanied by a brutal sound the boomerang jams like a jaw lock between the ravening teeth of the Crocodile. The Predator can feel that his right arm and hand are severely hurting, but he does not let go of the boomerang. In a simultaneous countermovement, the Predator´s left arm holding the big spear gets out swinging, aims at the lower neck of the reptile and tries to place a deadly wound with a powerful hit. But the spear just misses his target. The crocodile's attack using its entire body weight also is a backward turn so massive, that the Predator, certainly not a lightweight either, is pushed off the plateau. Wedged in each other, both hit the water with a big splash.
With its sheer force and speed the reptile pulls the Predator further and further away from the bank, deeper and deeper into the water. He should let go of the boomerang immediately, the Predator thinks, but the ongoing rotations of the reptile have caused his lost of orientation already. A hasty escape movement could lead way further into the depths of the water hole. With nearly every rotation his body also gets scratched by one of the reptile´s huge claws.
The Predator senses that the boomerang is about to burst from the pressure exerted by the jaw. And not only the reptile, also the water has become his enemy. He will not hold his breath under water for much longer. There is only one chance left getting out alive: One last fatal blow with his spear! All his remaining strength wanders into his left arm now to get it in a good position. Cutting its way through the water masses, the spear aims slowly, but very powerful towards the neck area of the crocodile. suddenly the sharp weapon encounters resistance. Come on, harder! At an angle, the spearhead drills through the thick skin of the crocodile´s mandible, passes the wedged boomerang that still protects his right arm from getting smashed, and continues to drill - right through the crocodile brain. In a final act of strength, the predator pushes its weapon fully until the tip of the spear breaks out of the crocodile's skull. Silence.
From the plateau, where the predator expected the attack, the water surface now looks almost idyllic. No signs of a battle, no hectic movements or splashes coming out of the water. There is only the sound of insects flying around. But then, in the middle of the water hole, small bubbles appear on the surface. Around the bubbles, the water changes from a muddy brown to a deep red that keeps getting bigger and bigger. Suddenly, the predator rises from this carpet of blood and gasps for air. With his last strength he swims back to the plateau, pulls his wounded body out of the water onto the stony surface and remains still. For a moment he wants to close his eyes, just to feel the warmth of the sunbeams hitting his skin. He did it. He battled this giant crocodile and emerged victorious from this duel.
Chapter 5: The most dangerous species
The Predator opens his eyes again. He cannot say exactly how much time has passed. Maybe an hour, maybe more. But he knows that he has to get up... and that he has to get back into the water to secure his trophy. As he straightens up, he first notices the deep wounds on his body that the reptile added to him during the fight. But pain doesn't matter now. His dagger! He needs his dagger. Hastily he grabs his right hip. The dagger was still there. The Predator swims back to where he first appeared, takes another deep breath, clamps his dagger between his teeth and dives down.
The minutes pass again. And then: the crocodile's giant snout pierced by the spearhead appears on the water surface, followed by the Predator himself. He has cut off the head of the giant reptile under water and balanced it with the spear to the water surface. He also was able to secure his boomerang, which he had left still stuck between the reptile's jaw.
Before the Predator makes his way back to the village, he pauses on the stone plateau. From there he looks down at the waterhole, his left hand is holding the spear, on the spear tip the head of the crocodile. In his right hand boomerang lays loosely over his shoulder. The blood of the reptile's head drips onto the stony plateau. It was this place that immediately attracted him spiritually, where the fight against this elemental force began, and which gave him back the strength to retrieve his weapons and trophy from the ground of the waterhole. This is where the energy of the Djang, the creator ancestors, flows! And with a bird-like scream towards the sky he conjures up this plateau as a special Djang place, where the dream time merges with the real world and henceforth exists as a stone-made energetic and life-giving place. Then he sets off, home, back to his people.
He hasn't even arrived at the entrance to the village yet, and the children of the village are already running happily screaming towards him. Excited and also intimidated by the sheer size of his trophy, they orbit the predator like a swarm of wild bees and accompany him to the village centre. The whole tribe has gathered in the meantime. They greet their brave warrior with raised arms and cries of joy. Their warrior, who succeeded in freeing the village from the old curse of the Dreamtime.
The elder steps out of the crowd and approaches the Predator. The Predator puts down his spear and kneels respectfully with his head bowed before his elder. The elder lais his hand on him and speaks calmly: "My old friend, I see the spirits have made your hunt a great success! I thank you with all my heart, your selfless courage makes us all proud, safe and sound". He rises up and says with a loud voice: "Let us celebrate a great feast in honour of the spirits of the dream time". He looks at the Predator. "They brought you to us and allowed us to make you one of us. My brothers and sisters, prepare everything now! And you, our Brother from the Stars, let your wounds take care of and get some rest. We want to hear your story tonight!
The feast is in full swing. There is laughter dancing, eating and drinking. And again and again the Predator must tell his heroic story of his hunt and the fight in the water against the giant crocodile from the dream time.
In the middle of the joyful feast, a loud warning signal suddenly sounds from the guards guarding the entrance to the village. A warrior of a neighbouring tribe further south of the country asks for admission. He is alone and seems no threat, on the contrary, he seems anxious. Through the celebrating crowd and accompanied by two warriors, he advances to the Elder. He is so upset and out of breath that he doesn't even notice the Predator next to him. The man reports in a trembling voice that alien beings are terrorizing the land and are heading further north and taking everything that doesn't belong to them. They kill those who stand in their way. They move on big animals, they wear unknown, heavy armor, they fire from bewitched spears - and their skin color is very pale, without color. White Demons from the Dreamtime!
And the Predator realizes: the day he had expected since his arrival on planet earth has come. No longer any reason to keep his knowledge of this dangerous threat, which is directed against all living beings of this old continent, to himself. He rises and asks the elder for the word. It becomes quiet. Everyone looks bound at the Predator and wants to hear his words. "My brothers, my sisters" he speaks with a firm, determined voice. "Let´s celebrate for the last time together in peace. Tomorrow we will go to war".