"A Song, or The Lizard Story" by agelade

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He looked around the desert, seemingly unaware of the wind blown sand and of his nudity. I sat watching him, warm on my rock, sunning myself in the heat.

After a length of time, I stuck my tongue out at him, then I spoke to him.

"Man," said I, "why do you stare around the desert so? Can you not feel the sand beating up against your naked calves, thighs, torso?"

"Lizard," said he to me, "I care not for the sand, for the wind. I care not for this body. I am a man, nothing but chemical reactions taking place. And what care I for chemicals?"

I, confused, lay sunning myself on my rock, watching the man a bit longer.

A random insect happened by, and I, being hungry, ate it.

Night fell, and the air was chilly, so I went home. When I sensed the warmth of the new day, I came out to my rock once more and continued to watch the man.

"Has this been your nightly repose?" I inquired.

"Yes," was his simple reply.

I could not help but wonder why he would wish to remain outside at night. The night time was cold. The warm sun glided away and a cold grey moon took its place. The sky robbed of light when the sun left, greyed away to darkness, a few hardy flecks of light powering through to accompany the moon. Much nicer to be at home, warm and safe. Sandy smells permeate through the walls; I smell them with a flick of my tongue. Home is safety from those who would hunt me, grab me up in sharp claws and fly me away from my rock in the sun. Home is safety from those prying eyes of that cold moon, those tiny points of light leftover from the sky, the eyes that peer down, watching.

The man stood up, and I realized that I hadn't noticed when he sat down.

There happened to be a breeze, and that breeze whipped the man's hair around him like a cloak, black and majestic, but leaving behind small red welts on the man's back, legs, and face. The sound reminded me of the flapping of hunter's wings, a sound I hate. But it was daylight and I wasn't afraid. The man turned to face the sun in the east and took a step forward. He turned back around to face me and sat in the sand.

Two large, mating insects tumbled by, and I grabbed them up, pulled them apart, and ate one slowly. The other I offered to the man. He took the insect reluctantly, looked up at the sky, and ate the insect with deliberate pause.

After breakfast was finished, and I sat tasting the air and cleaning insect juice from my mouth, the man uttered a strange, eerie sound. I realized that he was moving his voice up and down in a pattern, over and over. It was a sort of mild, muffled buzzing sound emanating from somewhere around his nose. When he spoke in these patterns, I remembered that that was called singing, and that it was what hunters do at night before they grab you up with sharp claws and take you away from your rock. For a moment I was afraid, but I saw the man, and I remembered that his lower leg was the size of my entire body, and that he was strong. And I felt the warmth of the sun reminding me that it was day. So I opened my mind and listened to the man's singing. And I wasn't afraid, but I did wonder why the man was doing this singing. Was it for a mate, for food, for help? So I asked him.

"It triggers a chemical in my brain that causes me to gain pleasure from it. That is why I do it."

I wondered what that meant.

The sun rolled around to right above us, and I was pleasantly warm. The man also seemed to be somewhat content, digging his brown toes into the grains before him, looking off into the blue-yellow distance.

A winged insect flew by, and I stole it from the air with a sudden snap of my jaws and munched satedly.

The sun edged over to its night time destination, and the temperature started to fall.

I looked at the man, and I shuffled my feet on my rock, my toenails clicking nervously. "Will you again stay out this night?" I asked, trying to feign nonchalance, and not succeeding.

He glanced at me, his eyes searching out a truth neither of us knew.

The sun rolled away; night fell. It seemed cold, but I stayed on my rock and found that it stayed warmer than air, and so I was also warm.

I heard singing, and it was not the man's singing. The man's attention was engaged in searching the sand at his feet. I heard a sickeningly familiar swoop of wings as a hunter flew overhead. The man was very still, intent on the sand, until the night was suddenly broken by a flurry of struggle. In the time it takes me to eat a good sized insect, the man lay sprawled on the sand, his head in an oddly unnatural position. He was not moving. The hunter had already torn away parts of the flesh and was feeding on steaming entrails.

I was not more than a forearm's length away from the entire ordeal, the thrash of bodies, the sudden feeling of loss, so when I felt this great energizing force pulse through my body, I whipped my long tail through the intensified air, hitting the hunter and knocking it off balance. I darted in and seized the hunter's somewhat thin neck, cutting off screams I hadn't heard until they stopped, and held on, held tightly.

Before long, even the flapping of the wings subsided, and the hunter lay still, tiny dark rivulets idling out into the sand from openings I didn't know I made. I looked around, vaguely realizing that I was on my rock again. I felt somewhat triumphant, though I knew not why. It felt as though there was some external substance controlling my feelings, except that it was so extremely internal. I glanced up at the sky-leftovers and thought that perhaps they were the controlling force, but they only winked at me. So I opened my mouth to the moon, and I sang the song of the hunter, then that of man.

Too soon, the chill air took me over and I decided to go back home, but I also found myself quite famished, so I looked around. A solitary insect was getting first choice on the man's remains, so I grabbed him up and ate him.

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