Sweat falls from our noses, an ablution for the ink on the page. Confessions we smear with fingers blackened and bitten.
“Start again,” the huntsman says and spreads new paper across the endless table, a hundred of us lined in naked silence. Chained. Blistered with the silver of other men’s fear. A thousand of us. A full million spread back into the shadows of stone and hill.
“You are this,” the suited man in the corner says. “Beast. Violator. Write it.”
We are heathenic snarl. We are fanged and clawed and matted. We consume the virginal into our pelts.
“You are beast. Write it.”
We are ribs. We are thirst.
“Beast,” the suited man says.
“Animal,” the huntsman says.
We are moonspeak. We are bloodspent.
“You are extinct. Write the words.”
The shackles gnaw at our abraded wrists. Wounds seep. Sweat falls.
“Don’t you dare,” the huntsman says.
But we are not of pen. Or paper. Or words. And we are not prey. We reach again with mottled hands and wipe away the ink. A million of us refusing our end. Refusing to be named.