In the aftermath, there were those who uncovered the dead, and those who buried them. There were no services, no names, and no mark-stones. No one would look upon the fields sown with blood and ash. We were wide-eyed under the stars, squinting under the sun. We staggered and tumbled, blown in every direction, fallen leaves in an unexpected storm. At times, there was little enough to say that we would go for weeks without speaking, without a sigh or shout or sound. Perhaps that is how, when it came from the heavens, cloudstained and broken-winged, the captain’s heart was caught — he was the only one who remembered what it was like to hear music. He stopped covering the faces of those who would never see again, and he followed the ghost of a memory as it drifted on the wind, to the spot where it lay in the stone-grass, shattered and scattered and still singing, staring up at the hole in the sky where it had fallen through.
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