To the readers,
My name is Heinrich Etcher. I am the 5th generation of Etcher to live in this house of 482 Boswill.
The year is 2117. I was doing a fair bit of traditional summer cleansing when I found several letters under a floorboard in my attic. These letters paint a most vibrant picture, a picture of life when the Neanderthal, only some years reincarnated on this earth, was a commodity to be traded, bought, sold , admired, trained, destroyed. The letters and writings are between a great aunt of mine, still a living six year old child, and the family "Grunt" as he was called, Tennent, a boy of equal age. I hope these historical papers have not just factual interest, but allow you to think.
I be Tenneth. I live in house of called name 482 Boswill. House rests inside the boundary area New York, it is York but York burn and the people rebuild, so I assume.
I am Neanderthal. Owners of I call I so, so I am Neanderthal. I am paid for on month June day 25 year 2025. I connected to brother amounting to four, two paid for by different Owners, two paid for by owner of I, I paid for by owner of I. I know this because I read. I read the papers owner of I bring out as owner of I sells brothers of I, Month of May Day 14 Year 2016.
I do not know the month. I do not know the day. I do not know the year. I ask Owner of I, with a dinner party being in existence, and owner laughs and owner pats head of I and booms like a fire train to the other people "See here? See why I kept this fine, fine specimen? Smartest little creature ever brought this side of the river!" And then he rubs head of I and messes hair, and tells I "do not worry of such things, little Tenneth". For that is name I be.
I do wish Owner tell me. I hear of practice people call journaling. They write down occurrences, thought on book paper, and they store these book papers for a future. That is what I do now. People write the now Month Day Year on top of their papers in journal, so I want to do that, but Owner never give month, day, year, so I can not.
I learn to write by observation of daughter of owner, with name of Letra Ann. Letra Ann is also Owner of I, yet Owner also owns her. I still do not understand. Letra Ann possesses bright blue eyes, not unlike Owner, who equally owns blue eyes of darker, of paler. Letra Ann possesses curly blond hair, but Owner does not, instead owns short brown hair. I expect he plans to buy so blond hair for himself someday. However, Owner already owns the hair of Letra Ann, and I do not understand why he does not take Letra Ann's hair, as he takes mine. I do not know. I do not know why Owner wants hair of I.
I finish now.
My name is Letra Ann. I found your book of journaling under the staircase when I went after a lost doll of my cousin's. You write very nice, and I want to teach you more writing because writing is a lot of fun and Daddy says it makes you smarter and more well respected, which is a good thing. Meet me by the staircase when the sun starts going down and the light outside turns an orange color.
February 9th, 2018
Letra Ann is teaching me writings. She taught me me. Other than I, there is me. She also taught me how to say words so they can talk about the past instead of the present, which is very important because people learn from the past.
Letra Ann also taught me other things. One night I cry hard, because of things that happen in the day. Me Owner had me cook something I never try before, on a stove, and I slipped, and my hand burnt and burnt, and the Owner came in and he grabbed my arm and threw it under the running sink head. He said these words of dialoging "Can't let damages happen, wouldn't be good, you'd be quite useless now would you?" And then it was done, and I start cry more because it still hurt, and he says mores lines of dialoging "Please don't be sad. It makes everyone else sad. We can't have our important people being sad because you're sad. It should not work in such a way." And so I stop but when I gets to go away I start crying some more because I feel pain inside that can't explain, I begin to understand the feelings of the dirty moth addled rug who is thrown for being the wrong color.
So Letra Ann finds me cry and cry by the staircase where she is to teach me writings. She sits me down and begins to tell me a story to make me happy. Story is about a beautiful female person, whom all the people consider lovely, whom was made by the Gods, who are apparently very strong people who can make other people out of materials such as stone and glass and other things people don't usually be made out of. Letra Ann call this female Pandora, and the Gods give Pandora a box and tell her never to open it. I ask why gave one a box if one can not ever open it, for boxes are meant to be opened and observed and seen, but Letra Ann says it complex and she can not understand it either but the Gods have greater plan and are wise so therefore it is a good idea. This Pandora is married to a normal human and they are happy but Pandora is given curiosity, which is a disease what makes she really wants to do things others have told her not to. Pandora opens the box and releases terrible things into the worlds. Apparently the world is good and happy before all this and Pandora opens the box and releases bad things, and that's why the world has bad things like hot stoves and moth eaten rugs and unexplainable chest pains. And Pandora is sad like me, very sad because she did something very bad, like me, but then Pandora looks in the box and finds something else inside it, and it is a little ball of light that Letra Ann calls hope, and this makes Pandora happy and the whole world bearable and all the people happy, because it is a good light.
I like this idea of hope. I keep this story written down on many of my pages, and draw out some of the scenes, and try to draw what hope might look like. I draw Hope as a deer, which is something I saw in me Owner's book of Animals, a deer is a creature that is very graceful and nice looking and people shoot them because they taste good but that sounds wrong to do.
I found Neanderthal in book of Animals. I look for Letra Ann in book of Animals but she is not there, and me Owner not there, but I am there, and I do not understand.
July 4th, 2020
Tenneth has finally mastered the art of cursive, which will prove very useful to him in his future. I know this because my father says that cursive is a highly respected art that people like.
My father always asks me what I will be when I grow up. I told him I wanted to be a cartographer, because they get to fly around in a jetpack observing the landscape, and I liked to look at the landscape. He told me how when he was a kid he wanted to be a firefighter. What a silly thing to want to be, sitting around in an office all day and sending out robots to stop fires.
I asked him what Tenneth will be when he grows up, and my father laughed and said that Tenneth was already grown up, and he was going to be here forever. I told him that no, Tenneth was my age, he wasn't grown up yet. He then told me that Neanderthals age differently. Since they have less intelligence, they don't need to take so long in their childhood. I can't see how that's true.
I've been feeling a bit lightheaded recently. My father says that it's the summer heat, we're going through a very hard summer this year. I must take a lie down.
August 7th, 2020
Letra Ann died last night.
Letra Ann suffered and suffered for several weeks.
Letra Ann stayed in bed, and she suffered, and she was in pain, and yet she bore it without a tear, or a sigh, or a single cry.
At midnight, her face calmed and shined with all the great beauty and light it had ever held, all of it, leaving her. It left her.
Letra Ann is dead.
October 19th, 2020
To the Correctional Department,
I leave in your care my own Neanderthal, Tenneth. He has been having severe problems ever since the death of my own daughter. He recently became violent, banging all the pots and pans in the kitchen and screaming up a storm like the wildest banshee. I cannot have this behavior in my house any longer, and I leave it to you to cure out of him this madness. I hope the enclosed sum of $250 will suffice, otherwise I am afraid he shall have to be put down.
On A Napkin
They sent me to something called the Correctional Department. Two men with white coats grabbed my arms and dragged me to a van, and I was scared and screaming. I was shoved in the back and I could feel all these bodies, and I looked up into a face so similar to my own, so much older, and with so many scars I could barely discern the mouth, eyes, or eyebrows. Not one wished to so much as look at me, or give me conversation. Many chose to bang their hands against the side of the van, making a clashing and clanging sound, as if it would actually do anything. I chose to push my way to a corner and curl myself, trying not to touch anything. The floor was so dirty, and my feet bare, and the small room began to smell horribly. I arrived here awhile ago. I do not know the days. They dragged me from the van and I was shoved in a line with others, others alike me, whom I have not seen since they sold my brothers away. We walked in a line, and we were poked and prodded by these men covered head to toe in a white plastic material, even to their faces, which I could not see, which frightened me. These men stripped us of our clothing and sprayed us with jets of freezing, harsh water. I have loved and played with water as a younger boy, yet now it is a threat to me, a fear, I will never again caress water.
We are all made to live in this building. We sleep in small cubicles, the floors of which are covered with soft material. In the morning, we are brought to the testing rooms, where we are diagnosed, given more names, like "runaway" or "violent". Then we mill together. The others who look like me, they tend to get angry. I got to watch a fight break out between two of the older ones today, they were tearing each other apart, and one managed to rip off the others ear with his teeth. They had to pull them apart, and they took the ear eating one away. I never saw him again.
I am now sitting in my cubical, shivering cold. I can hear one in the next one over. They are thumping against the wall, each breath a wailing sob. I can see their feet underneath the cubical, they are dirty and the nails are missing.
I have an idea. I think I will peek under the cubical and tell him the story of Pandora. I have recited this story over and over again, and nothing has given me a greater, warmer feeling. Each time I felt the invisible walls of claustrophobia and hopelessness close, I began to say her story under my breath. It might make this one happier too.
It might make this person happy.
Report of Commodities
November 2nd, 2020
Age: 9 years
Reason for Stay: Violent breakouts
Type of Euthanasia: Acidic Injection
Reason for Euthanasia: Money has run out, the creature has proven to be untrainable, he has begun to interfere with the others.
Administrator: Dr. Rogye G. Hapa
Notes from Administrator of Euthanasia:
8:14 PM : The creature, Tenneth, has been telling the story of Pandora's Box to the others on his ward. This is distracting them and hindering their progress. Attempts to cure the creature have led to failure. Thus, he will be Euthanized.
1:47 PM: The creature died in the greatest agony, and yet… only a boy, a boyish face, between his sobs and screams I could hear words. They were the last few words of Pandora's Box as he told it.
"And hope was inside the box. And hope was inside the box."
And he continued to repeat, over and over, as his cries died down, and as his eyes slowly closed into a peaceful sleep.