The skullmen sat around the ocean, as if it were a table. They watched miniature men and women in boats forge their way across perilous meridians and vast stretches of ocean that from afar looked as smooth as slate. The skullmen dipped their long, moon-white digits into the waters from time to time, to stir up whirlpools or set tidal waves in motion. To the skullmen, the ocean was a game, yet it was not them who bore the risk, so it was not without joy that they played an elaborate strategy of deflection and capture.
To many of us onlookers, rage turned to despair, mostly because we could see ourselves in the men and women in the boats, of course we could, in their eyelashes and palms and choiceless tears, knowing that our blood flowed within them as silent and desperate as a prayer. But most terrifying of all — we saw ourselves in the skullmen. Maybe not our true selves, but a semblance of ourselves. Because the skullmen had been like us once, before they unpieced themselves of principle, leaving just the bright bone and the white grin.
And we said then that history would judge the skullmen harshly, how could they not see it, but our words seemed useless and small, a petty privilege, chaff and not seed — sustaining nothing, growing into nothing. So we turned our faces and wept, wept for a drowned boy, for the ones before and the ones to come, for our spirits bleached white by a cruel sun.