Homo Neanderthalis

Their heads are a vast continent, and the people are lost within them. They speak little, for each word summons fiery beasts, wheels with ox eyes, creatures female on one side and male on the other. Each moment is eternal, and contains within it all other moments. They do not name each other, because they do not persist from moment to moment. Shall they call the friend they meet on Tuesday in the sunlight by the name of the one they met on Friday in the shade?

The people are hunting. Now and then, one will drop out of the group, hunch shaggy-limbed and beetle-browed in contemplation of a patch of lichen, curl of fern, slow magisterial progress of a spider across its web. Death is a red comma at the end of the hunt, fire an absorbing marvel, food almost an afterthought. Taste conjures taste. Their sparse language is allusive, elliptical, individual.

The people do not know time — each moment discrete as leaves on a tree — but eventually slender ghosts appear among them, uncanny reflections, eerie distortions, that talk constantly, touch constantly, fuck constantly, that move fast and think slow. They give the people names and children, gifts of food and music. Upon the rocks of this uncertain coast, the waves of the people break in vain. Their tide crests, and then recedes.