Before time was time, nights were dreamless. No one narrated the hunts, and death was just a cessation of the body. Births were joyful but meaningless. Statements were nothing more than intentions among roaring, shouts, and racket. Sometimes two sounds came together in funny ways, but meaning was still far away from our primitive cogitations.
In these times of monotony, the Shadows entertained the primitive men. With no timbre or elocution, they came from the deepest layers of Earth’s mantle to tell stories under the moonlight. They lived in harmony, feeding on each other. The Shadows came to life with the laughter and the souls of the Men, and the Men lost the fear of the night with the histories told by the Shadows in a primitive symbiosis.
One day, a man died after eating a tasty looking fruit. Hunting was a gamble, and eventually, men needed to eat potentially dangerous elements. Another, more intelligent man, noted that the juice from his mouth indelibly marked the rock with a pattern that was pleasant to the eyes. He collected more of that fruit, avoiding to put it in contact with sensible areas. This man did not have a proper name. None of them did. They just knew that there was "The Boss", "The Hunter", "The Large" and "The Delicate".
Some men had soft lumps in their chests and above the thighs. Eventually, their bellies got big and other men came out from them. "The Delicate", who discovered painting, was of this kind. In secret, he drew their hunts in the cave. He made everything bigger and more menacing than it was: the spears, the beast, the joy, the moon, and the flames, that reached the sky.
It took some gestures and vocalizations for The Delicate to make The Hunter understand that that set of traces was him and that the thick line with a pointing end penetrating The Beast was his spear. But soon they understood and had great silence. Followed by a great laugh.
The Hunter imitated the muffled sound of the Beast’s steps and learned to use this sound to talk about the Beast even when it wasn't there. War shouts, death songs, the cutting of the meat, the crackle of the fire, the crickets, the frogs and all animals soon had their sounds, their own "words".
Men stories gained life by their own making.
The Shadows never came back.
Weakened, they returned to the depths. And, in the emptiness of their soulless existence, felt profound pain.