The valley glowed hot and orange. We stood at the very top, hidden where the light couldn't reach, and watched as the fires grew. Like little stars, they glimmered and shone, and over the crackle of wood we heard singing, drumming, howling.
"They're rabid,' you said. "What should we do?'
The firelight reflected in your eyes and I think we both knew there was no going home.
"Go,' I said.
We shimmied down the other side of the valley, a heavy plume of smoke rising behind us to blot the moon. We walked along the river, and each time we saw more fires we'd share a sad look. The world was changing, that was true, but it was the people who had changed more. Angry and starved, villages burned for days until the ground was ashfall and the rain tasted bitter. Fish floated white-eyed and still, and birds fell from the trees, bringing the leaves with them.
We found a hollow in the riverbank where we holed up, the soles of our feet dirty and cut, our ribs like birdcages. We drank acrid water until our throats were sore and you tried to sing a lullaby from when we were children. The words got lost, though, and I wondered if anyone would ever hear it again. A beautiful story lost to the gnash of a vicious world. Outside, the sky was black and I drew pictures of sunrise in the dirt.
20 November 2014