In the daylight Pyramie eats. He and the dog finish their morning food of meat and the remaining berries, but Pyramie is exhausted and afraid for the night to come . . .


He removes the rotten dressing from his hands to find a scab on the one and the other broken open, but the wound does not hurt so much as it itches.

Then he walks through his path in the bramble to the mud and up to the small pool where the waters flow. There he drops his new and over large animal skins on the ground and lies in the water cleaning his hands and wounded face from the man he stabbed. He runs his hands in the grass, rinsing them, and then sniffs them. The smell has died some in the water.

When he finishes at the pool, he takes the blade with its edge and cuts his bramble opening larger, hoping he will sleep better if he has more room, and so he cuts the branches back to the trunks up high until he opens the top to the sky. The breeze pours in over the green canopy sprouts and the sun touches his face with a sweetness he basks in. When he finishes, he weaves the edges of his dwelling with the branches he has removed to form a low wall that he hopes will keep small animals out.

Now he enters into the grasses by the dry moss and cuts piles of the golden blades to line the floor of his dwelling. He walks to the flowing water and watches it pass by.

Soon, he throws his spear for Dogo to return. The dog runs and retrieves it. They do this again and again. He can sink the spear so deep into a soft tree that Dogo cannot pull it out. When he grows tired of throwing the spear for the dog he does this, then drinks from the flowing water and they swim together.

When the darkness finally comes he cannot sleep.

The sounds of night alone attack him, worse than before. There is something moving and the insects crawl around him, biting his flesh. He twitches, crying often, and feels the bugs crawling on his skin when they are not there.

When the sun strikes his face in the morning his eyes are red and he has not slept. He drags himself out through the trough, up the other side and into the running waters where he throws his skins down and submerges himself. He swims back and forth and back and forth, faster and faster.

A small animal scuttles to the bank. He tries to kill it with a rock. A noise in the forest sounds, but nothing comes. Then he rests his head on the smooth stones and lays his feet on the wet grasses, letting the water flow over his exhausted body with its cold pressure and force that soothes him. There he remains in the sun and rubs himself. He is done and lays in the moss and sleeps.

He wakens with the sun directly above him. But in dreams, he was in the village with Theo and so he cries now because they all want him to die. He is squeezing his face with his hand, trying to stop the tears when the dog licks him. But he hits Dogo with his fist and the animal runs off where he cannot be reached and watches the boy as he cries more, trying to call the dog back.

From time to time he enters the water and lays on the smooth bolder in the current imagining that he has found her. But then he returns to cry on the moss and the rubbing no longer soothes him.

Night comes. The noises begin again: shaking in the brambles, and the insects crawling around and sticking his flesh. He babbles and cries, still trembling. His skull hurts. His body aches from the tension and he contorts into a ball on the ground and makes incoherent noises that are both angry and wretched. Dogo stays away.

“They are going to kill me,” he cries and has to cover his mouth with his hand to stop himself sniveling out loud. He wants to lie on the mosses, but they will plunge the sharpened wood into his flesh and slaughter him with their obsidian blades.

These men are twice his size and will break him with their hands, and the insects are there from Ashirah to trick him into making noise so they will find him and gouge him and maim him and bring him back to the village on a stick and show him to the people naked and bleeding, screaming. The people will hiss. They will love for him to die. The women will spit, and the men will strike him as they march him to the rostrum while Theo is laughing. Then they will, all with their knives, cut him and shake his blood off the promontory and unwind him, dying, while Theo is happy.

His eyes burn. They are dry. He sees things in blurs. His throat is reflexive and he vomits water involuntarily. He sweats, urinates, defecates. The spears are close. They smell him.

He screams at the top of his voice and lunges upward to impale himself on the spears that dangle just above him. But they are not there. He is fighting himself. Thrashing his head back and forth, he leaps up screaming, “Stab me! Stab me! I am no one! I want to die! I want you to take the spirit! Take the spirit from me! Take it! Cleanse me!” Then he garbles his words and screams in shrill cries, his face covered with tears and snot. He is gnashing his teeth and making animal sounds of pain.

Dogo runs farther away to the golden grass by the village trail and stares back toward the bramble. He has his ears are up, listening to Pyramie scream. The whole bramble begins to shake.

Within, Pyramie runs into the thorns inside the thicket wall and bleeds on his bedding as he sings in a rhythm, “Die, die, I want to die. Die, die, I want to die.” Then he stops and asks, “Why don’t you kill me? Because you can’t. I am no one, and you can’t kill me.” He is in a frenzy.

He stands and runs down the cut trail, slicing his head on the thorns as he passes and lunges through the untouched outer green wall, entangling himself in the thin branches. When he falls, he lands on long thorns that dig deep into his thighs and feet and he screams. “Ow!” But he pulls the thorns out and laughs, rolling in the dry mosses. “Who is there? You! Who are you? Not Ashirah. Not Ashirah. No! They can’t kill me! I am no one and they can’t kill me.”

He walks through the grass to the trail where no one goes. He has his spear with him. He holds it tight to his cheek and looks at the rotting dead Follower he killed and then he shouts, “I am here!” Then he sits in the center of the trail where the Hunters go and crosses his legs. After a while, he closes his eyes and sleeps.

In the morning he wakes and is thirsty.