The grove where the Neanderthal and I met at the upper meadow looked out toward the Matterhorn. One afternoon we submerged ourselves under the cool cover of pine trees. Between the shafts of sunlight piercing the musty grove we got busy grinding and sweating.
Afterwards the Neandertal was spent. I looked his chest. Giant blotches had appeared on his skin. I was alarmed.
Don’t worry. It’s the heat, he gestured. You might have a rash too.
“I would know if I had a rash”, I replied.
How? he signed. He stroked my smooth black skin. He was surprised I had goose-bumps.
I shivered in the cool air, drenched with his sweat. I told him I would be able to feel it with my fingers. I touched his chest with my eyes closed to see if it was true. His heartbeat quickened, then slowed until it was faint. He fell asleep. The air whooshed through his windpipe as if through a canyon. I curled up across the warm red carpet of his chest, my hips and shoulders rising with each breath from the giant. While we slept I soared across the Universe.
When I awoke I was alone on an animal skin inside the Neandertal’s cavern next to the warm oven. The sun was just breaking. I gripped something tightly in my hand. It was a gnarled rock embedded with deep fingerprints. My fingers fit its pockmarks perfectly. It left a burnt dust in my palm.
from the short story project DYSAUTONOMIA. Comments and discussion welcome on blog entries. Follow me on twitter for updates to this serial story and future stories from this ongoing project