Nameless

A nameless boy stares into the night sky. The moon, also known to some as Pheobe, glows speculative there and waxes the small world of his tribe into a new hunting season. The last before the snows come. An important one for the small band of sapiens if they are going to survive until the flowers come again.

Now, even at night, the ground lay open as in daylight because the night spirit’s generosity was in full plumage. With the extra light gained, the boy wonders if a hunting party could forage nonstop. Forage and hunt with less incident and accident, less loss. 

Unless the rains come early once again.

Then it would be too late. The clan should try for more, when the days are still warm. Until they can’t, because can comes at a premium.

Tonight is windy with a sting of chill in the air, but the boy, staring out into wilderness, doesn’t complain. He is fine with the weather, as long as it stays dry.

He wouldn’t complain, though, even if it were raining.

He doesn’t have the language to allow him to complain, yet. Death exists as a solvent for complaints. There is nothing but 98 degrees of body friction to look forward to. This was life. It was accepted.

Meat, shredded into edible portions, dried in trees, roots were eaten along with fruit and herbs, immediately. Hunger was a constant pang, dieting for the sake of making the food last, that was the only day to day stress, energy consumed for the sole task of collecting more energy. This was the boy’s life in a nameless place once upon a time ago.

He will be never known. He will forever be Nameless. His place in history, forgotten the moment he becomes burdened with age and can’t keep up, left behind to watch as scavengers pick still breathing flesh.

On this night looking at the moon, feeling invincible, he decides he must do the unthinkable if this year less of them are to die. They need more, more time, food, more everything.

Being nameless in a nameless group, one can only identify the others as the emotions they stir up. The one who shares his bed, Love, a slow-calm-beating of his heart. The boy who he hunts with, Brother, a comfort, a knowledge like he is safe, protected. The man with the black hair streaked with grey, Leader, and a deep angry sorrow swallows all of his happiness when he lays eyes on him.

Leader squats at the opening to the small outcropping of rock that will be the home for a while. Leader is smart. He acts as if he can control the winds and the direction in which to follow food. The nameless boy clenches, and his shoulders coil into piles of muscle. His mind works on the problem of Leader, and because he has no word for the revenge he seeks, decides: this is the only way

He is an unproven killer who must kill tonight.

Nameless does not feel remorse over this decision. 

Many seasons ago, when the nights were longest, he watched the man he knew as father get bludgeoned with a rock over scraps of meat. He knows this is how it works. He also knows that the sounds Leader will make as he realizes his breath isn’t coming easily anymore will be terrible. If he is lucky, Leader will die before the wilds have at him. The nightmare of death attacks his resolve, but Nameless knows his decision is final. There is something to this killing that feeds his soul and puts a purpose behind his existence.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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