Author : Phillip English

Deep in the centre of the replanted and repopulated Amazon jungle, it was nearing midnight. Chieftan Sral Kunk was completing the final adjustments to his tribal attire, making sure that each bloody line he had painted on his body was curved just so, lest he face the wrath of the monkey God, Jabarr. The bones of his victims bounced against each other in a wave of clicks that rushed forth whenever he adjusted a leg, or waved his arms at a servant. He was a fearsome sight, made even more fearsome by the realisation that each bone that adorned him was a result of his impressive history of violence.

An attendant informed him that the time of the great sacrifice was at hand, so the chieftan made to walk out of his hut; shrunken skull bones clack-clacked around his neck, a cape of skin behind him, towed to the ground by hardened eyeballs. Before he did so, he ushered his servants out with a lazy command, and with a quick check out his woven-hair doorflap to make sure no-one was peeking, he ducked behind his throne of vertebrae. For a few minutes, a variety of strange beeping noises issued from where he squatted before, apparently satisfied, he clapped his hands together, stood up, and strode out to face his subjects. With a grand speech of the strength and viciousness of their tribe, he issued the command to his witch doctor to begin the ceremony.

Fires were lit, and a great cacophony rose from the tribe as they danced and prrayed in their violent, exhuberant way. Punch-ups were common during prayer, encouraged in fact, and spontaneous, energetic sex was carried out on the sweat-soaked mud, even as the flames licked the canopy far above. Finally, when all the whooping and hollering and grunting and yelling and screaming grew to its thunderous crescendo, the chieftan stood up, shook his femur mace above his head and cried out to the heavens the ancient words that had been passed onto him by his ancestors, and their ancestors before them.

The onboard voice-recognition software on the computer of the cloning chamber activated, and sent the message that another unit was required. Amongst the fire and blood, the front of the plastisteel casket steamed open, and a perfect, pale man emerged naked and frightened, searching around him for friends he had lost centuries earlier. The witch doctor’s spear was sharp; death, quick. Chieftan Sral Kunk sighed and leaned his head on his hands. It just isn’t the same these days, he thought.

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