They came into my home destroying everything.
The first to die was papa, while trying to stop them from taking my mother; but the biggest of the savages, the one who was obviously head of gang, dealt him a massive blow with his club that knocked his head off.
My older brother took me in his arms and tried to get me out of the Living Room and away from Home. I didn’t see where the attack came from. His legs gave way and we fell. When I saw his glassy eyes staring into the void, I knew he was dead. I yelled with all my might, in a mixture of impotence and madness.
That was my last conscious act. I never saw my family again.
The savages shut me up in a small crate, in complete darkness. They fed me once a day and never let me out. The smell and weight of the air were unbearable.
I don’t know how long that agony lasted. I lost any sense of continuity. In my scarce moments of lucidity I sometimes perceived the total blackness and, other times, tenuous threads of light illuminating my bloody and infected hands, as was the rest of my body. And, always, the rocking motion showed me we were destined for somewhere I did not know.
In the delirium of fever I heard heartrending moans and what were even, I supposed, words uttered by my companions on this journey and in this agony. I didn’t recognise their languages.
One day, the racket from outside became deafening. At some point the door of my box swung open and two savages yanked me out. The blinding brightness flooded my eyes. After a while, once I’d managed to adapt my vision to the light, I realised I was in a cage. With a great deal of effort I managed to crouch and was able to appreciate the immensity of the tragic scene.
We were in a huge room, larger than any I’d ever seen before. On both sides of a passage the cages were ready – cages similar to the one I now find myself in – some were bigger, and some were smaller. Some were on top of others. Inside them, an infinity of beings that that lived in my land. From the grandiose Trunked-Horse, to the beautiful Beings-that-Cross-the-Sky.
My cage was one of the highest, just beneath a circular window. Straining on tip-toes, I could see through it to a desolate landscape: A great sand expanse, with some scattered shrubs here and there. A flattened plain broken only by a solitary mountain, in the distance, beyond the horizon.
In the cage next to me they’d locked a female of my race, one I’d never seen before. Her forced nakedness covered her in shame, and, although I imagine she was beautiful, her face caked in dry blood, her eyes red from crying, and her battered body, perhaps like mine, pushed me to pity and a need to console her. I talked to her with softness, but she didn’t even look at me. I lost count of how much time we spent there.
There was nothing to separate the cages below from those above, in such a way that excrement and urine from the higher fell from one to the other until it hit the ground. Many of the captives in the lower cages died. Once every day the savages entered the Great Room and removed the dead, replacing them with new prisoners, recent arrivals, and gave us some scant food.
They punished us for no reason. I think my companion lost her mind. She cried and called for her son without rest.
Finally, one morning when I saw the sky darkened by the clouds, the door to the Great Room opened and all the savages entered. At their head, one of them, white haired and face scored by ancient creases – and someone we’d never seen before – raised his hand. Silence descended and with a thunderous voice he spoke in words I did not understand, but which still echo in my ears like a curse, like the motive and reason for the death of my world. He said:
―Animals! My name is Noah.