Life moved on. We moved on. Families and children grew. Gardens and flocks thrived. Somehow, amidst the rubble of the world, we refugees made life. There were green things growing, pink babies squalling, clear water singing — life happened. It sprung forth with its own beauty.
We were happy.
Other than what we needed to know to save ourselves from immediate danger, we forgot the past, sloughing it off; it was too dark, too heavy to wear into our bright future.
The past had other ideas. When we shed it as an old skin, it filled itself in, becoming its own.
And then it came back for us.
We woke to the sound of Luroteo’s screams. We rushed down to his hut at the water’s edge, where he had lived for as long as we could remember, but by the time we managed to get inside, he had roused, and was awake, shaken, but no longer crying out. He looked exhausted, haunted, but could not explain to us his distress; nothing in his lonely room seemed amiss, though once everyone left, headed back to their own warm beds, he discovered the shimmering feather beneath his pillow.
That night, as the blood moon rose, he went to the Captain’s quarters, and let himself in.
They spoke of the day the world shook, and how all things fell, and were rendered unto dust. They spoke of the feather and its significance, the creature that fell from the heavens during their pilgrimage across the Desolation, Songfall itself, the task of the children, Enim’s birth, the camp’s divide, the beasts from the earth, Riesa’s song, Enim’s death, and finally, trembling fingers holding to the feather, the disappearance of the fallen thing, and the contentedness that had settled over their people.
What could it all mean?
They talked through moon rise, and took turns looking out the window, watching the red light spill over the dark lands. In the end, they fell asleep, each holding each, both with fingers clasping the shimmering feather, listening to it whisper in their dreams.