They say we came first, and for a little while we drank the blood of the stars. I try to imagine the taste of the sun. It’s been acid on my skin since the beginning of my new memory, and swallowing it down seems like it should feel like sipping on molten steel, tearing lips and tongue throat as it slides. But they say it tasted like honey wine.
They say we were in love. With the sun. With the world. With conquering it. We were in love with our strength and our speed. We made mountains dance and oceans lie still. We straightened rivers and twisted the sky. For centuries we made ourselves masters of a universe that was barely firm enough to contain us, and when we laughed, it seemed ready to burst. When there was nothing left to tame, we looked at each other.
It wasn’t hate that made us tear into one another. That was still fierce desire, a reckless joy in triumph.
But we beat each other. We bled each other. We broke bones. We tore flesh. We split spines. We emptied skulls. We were hard to kill, until we learned how to hollow chests.
When we adored murder, the Maker cried. The Maker’s tears fell like rain, poured out from the sky, slicking the earth with mud and sorrow. Thick clouds held back the sun for one hundred days while the Maker robbed us. When it finally stopped raining, the sun had lost its sweetness. And we starved in hiding from it.
Then the humans were born.
The Maker built them with our faces. The Maker built them with our skins. Their bones, however, were made of brittle carbon and their flesh was fragile tissue. They wore out and wore thin. They did not heal as firmly as they should have. They were too weak to compete with us for a moment, and their blood was rich and sweet and sating, intoxicating iron.
If we were going to murder, the Maker would give it to us. But the Maker took our triumph, and gave us this distasteful need.
They say we were remade, hunters in the dark. Hungry and confined, we would have no time for conquering.
The humans tell other stories about being twisted and deformed, about becoming us in the middle of wrecked nights. They say they saw the earth’s first day.
But I drink feeble things. I lick metal off the inside of my teeth, and wipe it off my mouth. I cannot imagine owning one acre of this world, or tasting anything so heavy as daylight.
But I feel old.