Consciousness. Hunger. Awareness. Thirst. Existence. Need.
They were all one and the same. It did not think about such things. It hardly thought at all. There was no time. There was no space. All was ache. All was need. If need were a sound, it would be a roaring wind ripping away all other sound and pushing one where it willed. It didn’t think about what need was. It didn’t make analogies. It only obeyed the push, the ache, the hunger, the thirst.
The need pushed it up from the sand. Forced it forward. Toward the scent. Toward the sound. Toward the heat which meant something was alive in the dark, cooling sands. It pushed it to a loping run. Every muscle was fire, burning, screaming for relief. Still it ran. Pushed on by the need and the screaming. The only relief would come with drinking. The wind wouldn’t die, but it would subsist…
… a little.
It did not consider the time. There was no time. Just an all-encompassing now of screaming, roaring, thirsting, pushing. Pushing over the next dune and down into the small trough between and up to a makeshift tent, glowing with hidden fire in the night. There were others, kin. Pushed here by their need. The shutters on their eyes constricted with the light. There was a weapon in its hand. It had not been aware of it until now. Yes. The weapon was always there. Awareness came with need. Meat animals were often violent. The meat animal would need to be subdued. Alive, if possible. Though with so many of its kin descending on this one meat, it would not live long.
The meat was aware. It’s eyes wide. A weapon in its hands. They had it surrounded. Carefully the circle closed. The meat animal’s weapon slashed and there was a gurgling. One less kin to feed. Hands grasped the meat animal’s arms. Held them. The meat’s coverings were torn away. Kin grasped the animal’s legs. Stretched out and writhing. The meat made animal noises. It recognized some of them. They meant something to it once but it was so hard to hear them over the roaring, the thirsting, the aching need. It grappled high on a leg. It preferred legs.
It’s tooth slid out of its sheath and pushed deep into the writhing flesh. The rush calmed the roaring. The pushing sank. The pain subsided.
Relief. Quiet. Almost in time with the writhing meat. It sank, quieted, calmed, the rush slowed and it pushed the tooth deeper, resistance, a crackling pop and it was in the marrow, the animal bleated weakly…
And was still. A single drop of water fell from the meal’s un-punctured eye. A youngkin caught it. Nothing wasted. Nothing lost.