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Sunday

Hills of Teeth, published 2006 in Spinning Jenny #9

Our
Our children're tall creatures, yet even in their height they easily duck themselves into hiding. They prefer the craggy ridge we've nicknamed the Hills of Teeth. We look forward to understanding the children, but first we must dislodge them from the Hills, and that's not always easy. The children're thin and wily. We need strategies. Once we've caught a child, we arrange a fire and break her apart over it. As a piece of her enters our comprehension, she reluctantly imparts knowledge.
   Long lakes poke the ridge's flanks. One guesses that these lakes weren't always here, but grew from the stagnant saliva of animals, who hunt the children eagerly and long, their saliva running the slopes. The animals're rarely successful, and move on when they weary.
   Assume that we live on one of these shores. We want to set ourselves out upon the long liquid, and float from shore to shore. We want to visit the little wooded islet in the center, but we've no craft that'll carry us. Nor can we imagine where we might find such a craft.
   But the children can tell us, we think. Therefore we organize a great hunt, and a mass comprehension to follow.
   We know these craggy hills well. We've mapped their features in our thoughts. We know the most efficient way to reach each attitude from another. We know where the children like to congregate, and how our designs can best be conjured in those places. Today we capture several children. In our hands they turn stiff and fragile, and cannot respond. Now they can be described only by us.
   We arrange a fire and prepare the children. When we absorb their content we're enlightened, but in the end it's not what we need.
   I suppose we've a better perspective now. We understand it might even take us years, and many more children, before we can randomly find what we want.
   To make our project easier, we construct small, temporary houses for ourselves in the hills, then settle within them.
   Over the months of hunting children, we grow more adept at our strategies. But the ornamented guestrooms we've prepared in each of our heads remain empty.
   We never lose heart; we're certain that the knowledge we seek awaits us in the hills. We assure ourselves: One of our children is keeping it for us. We've only to find the correct child.
   But meanwhile, our homes're comfortable. They can accommodate us for a long while.


(Spinning Jenny #9 has been reborn as a PDF, which you can download here if you want to read all the cool stuff that was published in its pages.)