Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Wild Man

The following excerpt is from The Wild Man by Ben Shakey. It will be published by Larry Fischer books in June 2009

The human introduced himself as Chemslant, possible Tsemslant, it was hard to tell.

He clearly prided himself in his Centari accent but there were still many sounds that the human mouth was unable to produce. Still, in the humans effort to adapt as effectively as possible to the foreign culture he adopted a Centari (although unpronounceable)name.

“I would like you to take me a far north as you can.” said Ghuantlast. He said it in perfect English.

The human stared at him. He blinked and then said “What the hell are you saying there?” in Centari.

“It was English.” Ghuantlast said in his native Centari.

“I don’t even speak English. My family was from Haiti. They spoke French. I don’t even look English. Anyways, I don’t even know French. We all speak Centari. Do look like some primitive.” He explained.

“I’m sorry.” Said Ghuantlast. ““I would like you to take me a far north as you can?”

“So long as you have the money.”


Chemslant sat at the back of the boat, turning the outboard motor and weaving through the standing roots. They were imported from Centari and with no predators or controls they grew into what looked like huge wooden mazes over the terraformed waterways.

“Do you know what Toronto means?” asked Ghuantslant

“No” said Chemslant “What?”

“I don’t know. I was hoping you would know. It’s a human word.”

“Is it really? I thought it was Centari. Maybe because I don’t speak human.”

“But why wouldn’t you want to speak English?”

“You mean why wouldn’t I want to feed my children. I don’t have time for hobbies like that.”

They stared out over the water. The noise of the cheap motor startled a flock of scaly sky slugs that burst into the air like a cloud of buckshot.

“So why are we going north?” asked Chemslant.

“There were reports of a wild human. I am investigating it.”

“A feral? I thought they were all dead.” Said Chemslant.

“Fortunately, there may be one left.”

“Unfortunately, they are wild animals. We have worked hard to join the Centari’s. This is a modern world that we live in now. Before the Centaris arrived we were primitives living in stone buildings and sputtering about in gaseous cars. This is reality and we have worked hard to get here and make sure our children can live in a Centari world. That more respectful than some lazy animal wallowing in the mud. ”

“But this is your culture?” said Ghuantslant.

“This is not my culture. This is a wild man shitting in the stonecrab trees. These are animals. I am a Centari.”

Ghuanslant was so caught off guard, he made a laughing noise.

They pulled ashore and it was one of the most untamed places that Ghuanslant had experienced.


“I can take you ashore and move further into the wasteland with you if you want to pay extra.”

Ghuanslant was relieved.

They pushed deeper through the invasive Centari growth.

“Have you ever seen a wild human?” asked Ghuanslant.

“No, but once as child my friends said they all saw one. I came running and they said he looked over at them and saw that we were Centerions.” This was a word that humans that gave up
their traditional human lifestyle and tried to live like Centaris called themselves. “The ferals are all scared of us and he ran. There were footprints left but I still don’t know if it was a hoax they pulled on me. They were pretty excited though, so maybe not.”

“I wonder what they think of us.” said Ghuanslant. He stared intently into the blue of the woods looking for the wild man.

“They don’t think. They are animals. They can’t even speak. They gibber like mice”

Ghuanslant stopped speaking and marched forward.

Ghunaslant saw the human’s pale skin against the blue jungle backdrop.

It ran deep into foliage.

Chemslant bolted after it.

“Hello” cried Ghuanslant. “Hello?” he tried different accents.

The human began to scramble up the stone crab tree. Its clothes were hung in tattered rags of cloth. There was none of the exoskeleton that both he and Chemslant wore. No implants near his eyes. He was wild.

He is beautiful thought Ghuanslant.

Suddenly its neck burst open with blood and it feel from the branches.

It lay on the ground.

Ghuanslant would never even find out if it spoke English. If I still worshiped a God. If it still tried to eat other animals.

Now it was just the same as the other dead Centerions he saw lying in the streets of their run down hives.

“I got it” said Chemslant. The gun was still in his hands. “The last wild man. Do you think he would be worth anything?”

“No” said Ghuanslant.

“Well, then I guess we can feed it to my family.”

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