The View from Middle Spunk Creek

PRIMITIVE MAGIC                                                                              8th ed.

 

The slender arrow came from nowhere, sliding silently between the ribs of the coypu, knocking it to the ground. It sprung to its feet to flee, but the escape lasted only a few yards as the poison carried by the arrowhead coursed through the body of the ten-pound rodent. It toppled into the roots and vines that covered the shore of the stream where it had been drinking.

A young hunter, another arrow notched and ready, approached the inert creature. He watched for a minute or two until it stopped breathing, then poked it with the end of his bow to make sure it was dead. He gutted the animal and scraped off as much hair as his crude knife could, then busied himself making a fire.  Within minutes the sizzle of cooking meat and the smell of burning hair dominated his senses.

The hunter lifted a sturdy green sapling from the fire, cutting off a chunk of the half-cooked meat, then lowered it back into the fire.  He chewed as he watched the rest of the carcass cook.

***

Okay, what happens next?

If the arrowhead poison is curare, the hunter wraps the remaining, fully-cooked meat in the large leaf of a nearby plant, drinks a handful of water from the stream, puts out his fire and returns to the hunt or his village.

If it is any arrowhead poison other than curare, the young hunter is dead within minutes.

***

Pronounced kyoo-rah-ri, curare is a plant-based arrowhead poison commonly used by primitive tribes in Central and South America until the Twentieth Century. Virtually every tribe had its own unique mixture of ingredients and rituals, but they all had the same thing in common: the curare affected the nervous system of its victim, paralyzing the voluntary muscles.  Death was by suffocation. Because the poison did not infect the muscles, themselves, the meat of the prey could be eaten immediately without any ill effect.

Western medicine discovered curare in the 19th century, learning that if the victim was provided artificial respiration for a few hours, until the paralysis wore off, he would recover in a very short time with no ill effects. It appeared that curare was the perfect anesthetic, until a grizzly discovery was made: although the patient appeared comatose while under the influence of curare, he was very much awake and aware of everything that was happening, including suffering the excruciating pain of surgery.

Curare has been used by many a mystery and thriller writer over the decades because of its unique effect on its victims. Cloud Warriors follows in that long line of respected novels, but unlike previous books, the poison is the element around which the entire Cloud Warriors’ story rotates.

Ancient mystical rituals, modern technology, supernatural occurrences and corporate greed all collide in a struggle to control the primitive magic contained in the unique curare of the Cloud Warriors.

            Next week check back to see what makes their curare unique, and how it came about.

***

Cloud Warriors will be available to the public in both softcover and eBook on February 22, 2019. You can pre-order on Amazon or at John Hunt Publishing or through this website.

For a recent reviews click on the Cloud Warriors tab in the tool bar, scroll down and click on “read reviews”. If you’d like a pre-release copy for review purposes, please go to the CONTACT tab of this web site.

Check back weekly for Rob’s musings from Middle Spunk Creek.

 

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