Dust whirled a thousand swirls encapsulating the Hunters, absorbing any water molecule they emitted. For hundreds of miles the Hunters ran, gasping for any oxygen molecule they could find arrested in millions of dirt particles. The desert in all its arid abundance, consumed the two starving Hunters; boiling stomach acid, exhausted by clay meals and the infinite chase, ate away their insides. An everlasting chase the two runners were in. If they squinted they could still vaguely see the creature, the prey, the hunted, but also the resilient, predator by default, by way of stirring dust storms that could annihilate a hunting herd. With every stretching stride and ache of muscle the Runners (their commonly used name amongst Lounging Men) grew closer to the pouncing life form and its soft image gradually increasing, inflated the glimmer of hope in their hardened eyes.
“How much . . . longer?” Mess managed to exhale.
“Forget your doubts. It’ll give in,” Kelsy replied nonchalantly.
Mess took a surprised glance at his companion, baffled and frustrated at his persistence. Mess wanted to collapse, allow the desert to crawl in and throughout his frail exhausted body. His sweat glands were depleted and only filled themselves now with the dried juice of his organs. His lungs pierced and shriveled like every other part of his dehydrated young body. “Young body” because he still had youth by numbers and labels of age for it was chases like this that aged a runner and today was his first. But he had trained and learned for fourteen years and his hunger won, his soul had yet to be dehydrated, he pushed further.
The beast they followed was a hurricane but with meat and bones to pick at that would satisfy the Hunters for as long as they could ration it. Like a hurricane, this creature wore a single eye full with fierce tranquility giving it its name, EIon¹. The average EIon is so large it could offer a month’s worth of sustaining energy to a tribe of Hunters and as well, provide them with an entertaining fireside story that would be told to enthralled and eager young ones for eons and eons. Pronounced “ahy-on” believed to not only derive from analysis of nature’s hurricane with a singular eye but also from the scientific term, ion, an atom with a net electric charge due to a reduction or gain of an electron. It is also believed that the name found its structure upon the psychological study of Emotional Intelligence (EI) because the EIon offers the capacity to control one’s emotions judiciously and empathetically.
To the Lounging Men however, one EIon was but a grain of sand, compressed and composed into an artificial ingredient to be fed to the lazy and Mindless Masses all within a matter of seconds. “Quickly!, Quickly!, Add, add, add and push another ad in their faces! Quick, what’s the income? Profit change? Quickly, swift down the line! Chopped hand my little worker? No problem!, entry 7524 you’re hired! Quickly! No stopping, no thinking!” Such production destroyed and devastated the planet Kelsy and Mess pounded on now.
Initially, prior to embarking on a journey for fuel and life, the Hunters did ponder on what they might discover during their preparations; for there is always something to be found in nothing and this fed their dreams and ambitions. On the run though there was no such thought because as one strides one forgets and Mess unconsciously learned this now.
This particular EIon they dived after would make them legends as it was three times the size as normal, a rare find, a true blessing and to their body’s relief, it began to stumble. Kelsy noticed the beast’s sudden shift in speed and responded properly with the whispering of the tribe’s ritual soliloquy to their planet’s Nature and Life forms. Enveloped in a daze, Mess blindly ran, and therefore, he failed to realize the beast’s conversion from a violent storm into a fragile low pressure system. He trembled and spat about, trapped in some kind of high—a common effect for a hunter’s first chase and an expectation in the run to capturing an EIon three times the average. So, after his respected communication to the Roots and Light, Kelsy spoke on Mess’ behalf and asked for forgiveness. This final portion of the process lasted a long while, Kelsy whispering hastily yet dragging out every bit of calmness he could muster within his tired mind in order to convince Nature that this EIon was earned. Kelsy, a man who peacefully and graciously lived and spoke, received Natures acceptance; the beast collapsed and true to his word, gave in.
Kelsy finally came to a stop, hundreds of miles to this point, the beast panting its last fragments of life at his callused feet. Mess was in a vortex, his brain an empty deflated tangle forcing Kelsy, the protector to grasp his stale arm—if he had not done so, Mess would have kept running until his legs snapped like twigs which might not have been much longer anyway for they were tanned and thinned leafless branches by now.
Kelsy knelt at the beautiful defeated beast and upon placing his palms on its pulsating blood vessels he breathed again, deeply, a gift of oxygen and a drop of water quenched his body, Life! He took Mess’ hand so he could feel it too and he did, rejoicing!, rejuvenation!, Life! Then, Mess slipped into a deep slumber.
The EIon in all its weakness in physique maintained a beauty of strength in its soul. Inhaling and sighing, the it vibrated the ground making each surrounding particle jump high into the scolding hot, windless air. But slowly, the force of its pulse diminished and the time between each hammer lengthened as the EIon began to change form. Kelsy knew the importance of letting this transition occur alone and made no interference except more whispering; he spoke his wishes for the beast to Nature and Nature answered. The eye grew colorful and Mess abruptly awoke as if nudged by Nature, a teacher, as so he would not miss such a necessary lesson to life. It was Kelsy poking Mess’ flimsy frame of a body, “Mess, Mess, listen,” he alerted him and in a whisper he added, “Carefully . . .”
“It is not life to think solely on size, facts, and figures. Nor is it life to alter what is life. None of what is wanted is ever needed for life to be lived. Life is running to, for something sometimes in the midst of what is superficially nothing because it requires a soul’s devotion to that something to shovel out the nothing that hides its truthful light. Life is full of meaning not full of mean like many allow themselves to suffer through. Take my word and you will live life.”—This is what Nature spoke, softly yet deeply and powerfully to Kelsy and Mess. Life!
The EIon’s form seeped out of its brute muscular shell and spun in the air around and through the Hunters, hydration!, harmony! The dust stopped vibrating, the beast silenced, and the heat became cool. Mess touched awareness now; he had always wondered why Hunters stared for long hours into the distance. When he would return to his tribe members and from then on they’d observe him doing the same, speechless stare. Kelsy and Mess felt something new. They felt nothing of pain and thought nothing of reward or numbers. The something they felt flourished their bodies, watered their minds, rebated their hearts, electrified their souls! Life!
And a floating piece of metal sensed it too. It had followed the Hunters for hours yet they did not hear its high-pitched, icy squeal as it darted across the desert, snapping photos of their actions and recording the EIon’s size. Blinking an alarming red with its mission completed, it skimmed and sliced the air back home to the Lounging Men with information that would light the combustion of an already blackened planet.