(EXCERPT WRITTEN DURING APRIL 2018 - STAGELESS ARTS: WRITING CIRCLE SESSION)
They trudged along the overpass, burning their belongings as they went. Limping along with nothing but their children’s hands clutched in their own. The wreckage of satellites torn apart upon entrance back into the atmosphere scattered in sharp, twisted pieces, glinting in the sunlight. Several pieces were still glowing hot, smoking and giving the air a hazy sheen.
He heard children wailing, their tears running in clear tracks, muddying the dirt and soot on their faces. A man pulled a young girl along by the straps of her pink overalls, one of the ribbons holding her hair in pigtails trailing behind her. Her light up shoes scrabbled uselessly against the dirt as she screamed, words lost amongst the cacophony of grief and outrage.
They came from miles around, trudging along towards an unknown destination, just feeling the need to get away. To crawl into whatever shelter they could find further south along the interstate and lick their wounds. There would be no bodies to mourn. No possessions to clutch tight in comfort beyond their own flesh and blood. And some wouldn’t even have that.
He watched an old couple sit down next to a rusted blue truck, eyes glazed over as they clutched a picture frame. The old man tilted his head back and sighed, closing his eyes - head pounding faster than his heartbeat. After a few moments, the woman gently shook his shoulder, but he shrugged her off, he couldn’t bring himself to be bothered or disturbed. Smoke billowed out of a convertible three lanes over, a slight breeze blowing the smoke into their faces.
After a few seconds, the old man opened his eyes, watching the smoke and looked around. His wife had his hand clutched within her own, but was deathly still and everything around them was silent, the air clear of smoke. Glancing around in confusion, his tired eyes made eye contact with vibrant blue eyes, serenely staring out of the depths of a dark hood.
A gentle hand caressed the old man’s face face and pried his fingers open, away from his wife’s hand and helped him stand. The old man clutched this new hand, a strong hand, and they walked back up the interstate together, into the distance.
Time unfroze and the smoke continued to drift. Next to the body, the old woman silently cried.