Dust to Dust


Charlotte, North Carolina

She scanned the hall. She scanned the hearths of bone. The walls of thatch and sticks and pelts. The pillars of mammoth skulls. The others were not scanning. That’s why it was her job to scan.
There had been recent night attacks from a mysterious demon. Any suspicious behavior was to be considered influence from that demon. In fact there was a comrade under the center table, acting suspiciously.
She approached her comrade who was drawing in the sand and trying to stay out of sight.
“No comrade,” she growled. She erased the drawing with his foot. “Writing steals the hope from our children.”



Miles away, another of her comrades sat under a fruit tree. Everything was so green, he thought. He thought the same thing every day for half the year, but he wasn’t bored with it. He’d rather enjoy the plants and the hills than the company of his species.
Each one of his comrades had a plot of land. They would go to the hall to trade plants and meats. But now there were creatures raiding the hall. Some of his comrades used sleep by its many hearths. They were gone now.
He told his comrades this morning what he knew- that is was another species, and not a demon. They told him to stay away from the creatures. So he set off to try and find them.
A long afternoon later, there they were, tracking a gazelle in the field below. He hated them. But he accepted this as part of his nature. He accepted the behavior of the demons too. He took that knowledge and made it his knowledge. He and his species could never run down a gazelle. Those creatures needed spears just to kill it. He could easily rip their tiny rib cages apart if he could catch one. He was not afraid of them.
They were strange the way they stuck together. They travel in packs and listen to one leader. They group all their resources together and the leader decides who gets what. The women stayed in camp and cooked the food and buried the dead. They did not build great halls or stay in one place. He was not afraid of them.
Two of the creatures at the base of the hill watching the hunt saw him. They consulted, then headed towards him. One was tall, with a long beard and a wizened staff. The other was clean shaven, strong, and fierce looking. They were so lean and dexterous and quick. Lizard monkeys he called them.

“There’s one,” said the short lizard monkey. “We’ll eat well tonight.”
“He’s alone and unprotected, said the tall one. “Almost like he wants to be killed.”
The first one drew his flint knife as they got closer. But the second one was still thinking.
“That gives me an idea.”

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