It doesn’t see us. One thousand eyes pointed at heaven and earth and all of them are blind.
Our Eyes spot it into the canyon, hiding in a thicket of thorns and vines. Maybe it was sleeping, we thought. Do the cold ones even need to sleep?
No, our Tongue said. We need to sleep; they don’t. That’s why our ancestors lost the world. Sleep makes us weak, our Right Foot agreed. Our Heart stepped forward and shook us. Sleep brings us dreams, our Heart said. We can dream; the cold ones cannot. That makes them the weak ones.
Crawling silently down the walls of the canyon, we are armed with blades and stones. Our Teeth. Our Left Arm carries a bow and arrow to pierce the soft fake meat under the cold one’s stomach. And our Brain carries a box of blue fire that makes the cold ones sleep forever when it is sparked. We don’t have much of the blue fire left; we only use it when our Teeth aren’t sharp enough to draw black blood from glass veins.
We carry with us some doubts about what our Heart said. Yes, dreams are pretty, dreams bring wisdom, but dreams won’t knit our flesh back together when metal hands pull them apart. Our ancestors had dreams, back when they were I and I and not We. Dreams of buildings that touched the heavens and put our Feet on the moon. The dreams didn’t save them from being chased into the wilderness with the smoke of their children perfuming their skin.
Left Foot and Right Arm creep ahead of us, barbed spears at the ready. The cold ones are fast: according to the ancestors, they can think a million thoughts in the time it takes us to think one. We have spent hours planning this attack; once the cold one with a thousand eyes becomes aware of us, it will come up with a million counterattacks and Disembody us. Either we will be quick to send it to the Lonely Place or we will be lucky, and it won’t think of the right countermove. That is if our ancestors smile upon us.
We met another Mouth once. A Mouth without a Body; such a wretched thing. The Mouth said that the ancestors didn’t die, that the stories were wrong. They went to the moon and they stayed there, the lonesome Mouth said. They watch us now. They send us blue fire.
In accordance with our laws, we sent that lost Mouth to the Lonely Place. Reunited with the Body that had left him so alone in this world. How horrible it must be to be alone, to be an I and not a We. Even the cold ones understand this. Millions of them connected together, our Brain said, like the strings on a spider’s web.
Millions. A hard number to comprehend. Our Heart said a million is the number of grains of sand in a beach. That is the number of ways the cold one can kill us, if Right Arm and Left Foot’s aim isn’t true.
We are almost upon it now. The cold one has legs like a spotted tree cat and a head that’s round and split open into petals. A sunflower. The cold one hums faintly. The noise it makes is almost beautiful.
We close in. A soft breeze blows into the canyon. Dust kicks up and the cold one turns. The thousand eyes see us. It sees the red in us. It hums, thinking of a million ways to paint the earth with it. But it cannot see our dreams. And in our dreams, the only blood that shall stain this soil is black.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Naftule is a writer & theater artist from Phoenix, AZ. He’s been published in Vice, Phoenix New Times, Ghost City Press, The Hard Times, Rinky Dink Press, The Outline, Four Chambers Press, Under The Radar, The Dark City Mystery Magazine, Invisible Oranges, Aquarium Drunkard, and Runt Of The Web. He’s a resident playwright and Associate Artistic Director at Space55 theatre. His favorite Marx brothers are Chico and Karl.
More from Ashley: WEBSITE
Editor: L. Naisula
Cover Design: Shompole, N.L.