Life of a naM

You’ll only find a Nam on a strange world called Htraetenalp, which is harder to find than it is to pronounce.

Nam’s form slowly via one of two options, one group forms deep under the ground collecting nutrients slowly from the worms that form a Nam. These bugs and bacteria even helpfully create a wooden box around the Nam in preparation for the birth, the family gathers around as the box is pulled from the earth.

The other group form in the ocean and burst forth from the seaward waves, white dust flinging itself into an urn displayed toward the sea. The dust is put into a great furnace which bakes the Nam.

In both cases there is now a body but no soul. The family now wait over the body praying for a soul to come. In a common ritual paper like material is soaked with saltine water which is then absorbed into the family members eyes. It is largely unknown why this is done.

At some point the body takes its first breath and the eyes flutter, I suppose we would call it a soul. In their first years Nam’s are quite docile and harmless some even seem brainless. But soon there body takes shape, becomes stronger and the wrinkly skin tightens.

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This is where the similarities between Nams stop. No one Nam is the same. In fact most are entirely different from each other. Small, big, black, white. There’s a strange beauty in their vast variety, it’s a strange beauty because seems to cause conflict. The conflict of a Nam is unlike any other as it creates life instead of destroying it.

Sometimes souls are created through violence. I witnessed a body with a ghastly wound in its neck healed by a man with an axe (who had just been absorbing that same saltine water into his eyes). Then afterwards they began fighting as if the newborn Nam resented being brought to life. Truly these people are a mystery.

The biggest enigma of all is a Nam’s apparent death. Towards the end of a Nam’s life they became attached to their ‘reaper’. First I thought the reaper’s sole purpose was to end life but I soon came to see that she wasn’t solely a killer but soothed and made the process easier through apparent love (if Nam’s know what love is). The female seems to steal the youth of Nam overtime, her skin tightens while the Nam becomes stunted and dwarf-like. Eventually both the ‘reaper’ and Nam are rushed to a hospital where a fleshy tentacle erupts out of the reaper attaches itself to the now tiny Nam. He is taken into the reapers body with assistance from doctors where the reapers abdomen swells (in which I can deduct now contains the shrunk Nam. This abominable swelling decreases slowly. This process takes 3/4 of a full rotation around their local sun. I have no other theory other than that the Nam must have been absorbed. Disgusting really.

As terrifying as this fate is, I suspect that from their apparent increased happiness towards the end of their life they look forward to the absolute bliss of being consumed. In all my time among the Nam’s I have come to envy and fear them, but it is mostly fear that I feel for these primitive, backwards beings.

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