A whispering breeze. Floating petals, carried gently by the soft wind. Fine, course grass underfoot and the bark of trees standing out in sharp contrast to the greenery. Crowns of trees shading the sky like low-hanging clouds. A grey, dreary sky befitting my mood, and yet gently soothing my spirit with a strange beauty of its own.
Funny how one can take such notice of simple things like these at times like this. The little details of a scene that stand out in sharp clarity to an uneasy mind.
And in contrast to all the natural beauty? Grey stone sitting before me, and behind me, and everywhere around me. The ground is covered with carven stone sticking up into the air like so many sentinels.
Black fabric hugs my legs, arms, and torso, while socks and dress shoes comfort my aching feet. My head uncovered, my hat held in my hand in deep respect. A nice white tie catching the corner of my eye and completing my outfit. I sigh escaping my lips, the only oral evidence to any passerby of what I'm feeling or thinking.
A mind churning with thoughts and memories, of days long, long past. Days of love and life, days of exploring the new and reaching for the impossible, days of blind trust, trusting because I knew naught else. Days of bright colors and fun, happy times, of blocks and bears and spinning in the grass. Days of running and jumping, swinging and flying, singing and sighing.
Days of happiness. Days when the world is your backyard, or rather your backyard is the world. Days when every day is a new adventure, and every adventure is filled with fun, excitement, and complete lack of fear. Adventures from which you always come home to warm arms, the wiping of dirt, and the comfort of presence.
Days long gone. Days followed by shock, disbelief, fear, confusion. Days of finally coming to grips with reality, and then the pain sets in. The pain of knowing your world is gone, destroyed. Days of wondering whether there's any light at all left in the world.
Days of madness following days of perfection.
Why? Why is that even possible? It doesn't even make sense. It transcends the rationality of reality.
I sigh, and glance at the two spots of red connected to green staves I hold in my hand.
I drop the roses on the grave of my parents, whisper a few more words of communication, and turn to leave.
The words splayed across the stone now behind me:
George J. Thourne - Emily H. thourne
Ekelest dropped his shovel and collapsed to his knees, his face covered in dirt and his hands covered in splinters. He coughed so hard than he could not feel any mucus in his throat.
"Help me," he said. Tigrina helped him up. He leaned against her shoulder.
They were inmuns. They were not glorified like others for their nobility, for their age, for their sincerity, for their heart, for their history, for their humility, for their bravery, or for their heroics. In fact, the inmuns were a people reknowned for their fun and their partying nature.
Tonight was by far not a party night.
"No, help drag me away," said Ekelest, exhausted. "We need to get away right now!"
"What? It's dead!" said Tigrina.
"That isn't just any 'it'. That thing is an 'it'," said Ekelest. "Come on, you're just any other person in the middle of all this. You're just a bystander who got caught up in it all. We're not safe. We have to go."
Tigrina began dragging Ekelest along. "But it's dead," she whispered to herself, bewildered and afraid.
As best he could, Ekelest got back to his feet, wincing at the pain. At least he was catching his breath back. He couldn't run away from the grave yet, only walk as fast he could. His adrenalin had run dry.
"You weren't around during any of the wars we had with the nuadine," said Ekelest. "I'm a veteren. I knew some great people, and I knew of some evengreater people. Someone once beheaded one of them and thought it was dead, and then it just came back and hunted down him and his friends a year later. My friends died so that people like you didn't have to fear these feroceous aliens, now run! We need to get more people. We need to make sure that when it digs its way back up, there are enough local law enforcement around to kill it for good."
"But - "
"Just do it!" shouted Ekelest. He slapped her wrist and pushed her, and she began running.
Ekelest could not catch up with her. He ran as far as he could, and then he hid behind a tree. He looked at what was left in his pistols. he hated that his inmun arms were too weak to hold a Shock Grade 2.0 Rifle. Those things were specifically made for these circumstances. As it happened, he had these laser pistols, and he didn't have much left, so he had to make every shot cont.
He looked around the tree and located where he had dug the grave. The loose soil was beginning to vibrate like a diaphragm. Something was trying to push its way up. His heart quivered. He licked the blood off his teeth and ran a few trees farther down.
He heard the muffled explosion of the nuadine breaking free. He closed his eyes shut and grimaced. He could already feel the pain. He thought of all his friends. At least this was the definitive way to die, and they would be proud of him.
Ekelest turned around the tree. There was nothing there, and an empty hole was in the ground. He swore he could hear the nuadine lumping away. It was retreating? On the other hand, it had been beaten half to death. Maybe he actually had the upper hand. Ekelest took a bet, and ran in the direction of the sounds. The hunt was on.