Cain did not kill Abel. But he was indeed the precursor of fratricide. The boar cubs he pursued and killed, and into whose warm flesh and bones his unsuited teeth sank, were his kin and close neighbors. Their mother he had killed in self-defense, while fleeing to safety a before a coming storm. But there was another storm coming, and he was at its very eye. He returned and killed young ones. Then came other families, and Cain would do it again and again. Abel would soon join him on these bloody escapades. Unlike Cain, unusually coldhearted, Abel was riveted with guilt. As the body count mounted, he came up with the first justifications. Their sisters stayed behind and continued to forage, but would help prep the flesh which the brothers brought in. To their sensitive nostrils, it reeked of fear. But upon seeing Abel’s example, they soon joined their brothers in consuming it, and then fed it to all their children. The justifications became entrenched in ritual, used to soothe the community’s pain. But their fleshly selves had already been poisoned, as if by a disease, undergoing a series of tears, later only multiplied along deepening fracture lines. From those broken animals, the human was born—from the human, Empire.

Or it happened another way.


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