CHAPTER 1 – JOHN TOWERS
e2 / Three Years Ago
John Towers, a tall, strong, boy with dark brown hair, stared at the Neanderthal statue for a good 10 minutes ignoring Professor Jenkins’ elaborate explanation of e2’s first discovered extraterrestrial rocks, before finally raising his hand to grab Mr. Jenkins’ attention.
“Yes, Mr. Towers?” asked Professor Jenkins, a kind, white-haired man in his late forties whose rimless glasses made him appear justifiably sophisticated.
“Professor Jenkins, could you give us a little history on this guy?”
“This guy, as you say Mr. Towers, is just about the most important finding in e2’s history,” Mr. Jenkins said walking toward the archaic Homosapien.
The rest of the senior class followed closely behind Mr. Jenkins as they shuffled toward the 40 thousand-year-old find.
“To understand Neanderthal,” Mr. Jenkins continued, “You must first understand their e1 existence.”
Mr. Jenkins paused and took a deep breath and a pleasing smile overtook his proud face as he began to explain the missing link to the class.
“The direct link was not found until a famous archeologist by the name of Samuel Bartlett discovered the “actual” Neanderthal, affectionately referred to as “Adam”, buried in New France with an advanced hunting weapon. Dr. Bartlett, who was an archeologist on e1 as well as on e2, was the first to prove that e2’s Neanderthal were significantly more advanced than e1’s because they were reborn on e2 with knowledge and experiences from e1. Put simply, they were able to build more advanced tools and had better survival techniques based on their previous experiences.”
“What was the advanced hunting weapon?” asked a student.
“I was wondering who would be the one to ask that question this year. Well done Mr. Anderson. The advanced hunting weapon was an antler-tipped spear built to kill from a far. And as you undoubtedly know,” facetiously grinned Professor Jenkins, “e1 Neanderthal used stone-tipped spears, which were too heavy to throw.” Professor Jenkins then picked up just such an artifact, spinning it around and observing it closely before holding it up for the rest of the class to see.
Professor Jenkins went on to explain that Neanderthal had to come within a spear’s length to kill his prey. And that was not an easy task when your dinner was a one-ton bison. The lunge and jab was a very dangerous form of hunting and it led to the death of many Neanderthal. Based on what e2 scientists know to be true, it is a safe assumption that “Adam” was killed on e1 because of his inferior hunting tool and thrived on e2 when he was given a second chance to learn and adapt.
Mr. Jenkins paused briefly and grabbed the moment to connect Neanderthal to modern man.
“Most of you are 17 or 18-years-old and are only now starting to remember your e1 existence. Over the next couple of years, as you know, your e1 memories will be fully intact. This can be a very scary time. You will remember exactly how you died and how old you were when you died. You will remember if you killed someone or if perhaps you were killed. You will remember if you died peacefully in your sleep or of a horrible disease. The scariest thing is that I can’t tell you that you are not that same person today as you were on e1. If you were a bad person I cannot tell you that you will become a better person, because quite frankly you are that same person. What I can tell you is this, the most important constant that we have been given between e1 and e2 is that of choice. When you reflect upon who you were on e1 always remember that you have the power of choice to change on e2. And we must do things differently. We exist on e2 not so that we can relive our e1 lives, but so that we can improve upon them. Just as our friend “Adam” improved upon his.”
John Towers was indeed starting to remember bits of his e1 existence. The night brought flashes to all e2 teens and John was no exception. Each night brought a new glimpse. The anxiety surrounding these times cannot be explained in a word, phrase or concept. It was what it was and everyone had to go through it. Since most humans were good in nature there was a good chance that your son, daughter, friend, niece or neighbor was simply a cook, cop, lawyer, priest or a teacher. Rarely was the case that an e2 realized that he was a ruthless serial killer with a chance to kill again. Rare yes, but it did happen. The most notorious case occurred as recently as 10 years earlier. The papers reported that a 16-year-old by the name of Robert Fuchs awoke each night to untellable tales in which he brutally murdered his neighbors, making soup of each and feeding them to the homeless at a nearby shelter. By the time Robert was 18 he had killed his mother, father and baby sister.
There were no guarantees. All an e2 could do was what most humans have always done: Live their lives day by day, honestly and honorably, and hope for the best.