We could not bury him, because the body could not be recovered. It took flight into the night. While most of us slept and the few insomniacs stared at celestial bodies, the soul of Dear Old Tom attempted take off. The problem, one that has never occurred prior or since, was the reluctance on the part of the body to be parted with the soul.
So instead of the wisp of animus gliding out on the final exhalation, the body clung to the soul and took flight.
Dear Old Tom’s daughter came into his bedroom to check on him, having sensed that something was amiss, only to see the windows flung open and the bed sheets strewn about. When she peered out the window, afraid she would see her father shattered on the ground two-stories below, she was met with the peculiar sight of his body flying over the village in nothing but a lilac nightgown.
She called out to him. He did not reply. She swore she saw him smiling serenely.
One insomniac in the village noticed with horror and delight the body of Dear Old Tom soaring slowly higher and higher into the sky, mounting a trail of stardust.
The next day the whole village came together to mourn and remember Dear Old Tom and all the beautiful things he had done for us. We shared our gratitude for all the lives he had saved and all the frightened children he had given voices. He had been our clumsy, compassionate bard. Every one of us cried when confronted with how much we were going to miss him.
We gave him a sky funeral, for what else could we do? We did not know for sure he was dead, but we knew he was gone. And we searched for him among the consolations.
Did you know your whole life can fit inside a suitcase? Or even a ribcage? We’re just meandering through our twenties Wondering what satisfaction tastes like Hold me in your lithe arms Kiss me hard enough that my feet finally touch the ground And I land in this moment I hope you never wake up from me Like I’m some dream or passing fancy I hope you never wonder what madness possessed you into loving me That I am not some sickness you are cured from Your momentary lapse of reason Please, love me sober and quiet staring at my nakedness study it carefully commit it to memory less we regret
It wasn’t really what they had intended when they moved out to the badlands. They needed a home, a place to call their own and this seemed as good a place as any. In fact, it seemed much better than the city they had fled. What the forests bordering the badlands lacked in comforts or conveniences it made up for in freedom.
“I think Opal is going to have her puppies soon.” Emma said, while she pet the silky, white dog. Fiona was making a fire, concentrating on getting the kindling to light. The sun was just a sliver on the horizon now and Fiona was getting more frustrated the darker it got.
“Oh, yeah.” Fiona said, only giving Emma a fraction of her attention. Emma didn’t mind and continued to stroke Opal’s head. The dog was very pregnant at this point and it made her lethargic and clingy.
Emma and Fiona had brought Opal with them on the journey for companionship and protection, not realizing she was pregnant until a week after their departure.
Emma had thought it was an ironic omen, that they had fled St. Oron’s city of Wonder precisely because they did not want to have babies or start a family. All they wanted was each other and that had been sin enough to get them blacklisted as “noncompliant”. And here they were with puppies on the way, but Emma secretly did not mind.