Return 6

We tried to wake it, but it would not rouse. Bloodless, it seemed like stone. All of its color had poured into the water, and cleared it, giving the pool life, giving us life. The Captain named the place ‘Songfall’, and drank from the pool, telling us all to fill our canteens and bottles, and make shelter for the night.

Luroteo held vigil over it, leaving it where it lay, one hand in the pool, and all the children sat around near it, holding hands, singing its song. Some wept in understanding. Some were too young, and thought it only asleep.

When night came, the blood moon rose, its sickle casting the red lamp’s pallor over all. Many of us slept well, finally, glad to have found fresh water, even a little relieved that the creature was dead, that it could not change us, that it had given its life, but now its story was over.

All through the night, the waters sang, and the children dreamed, of music, of memory, of what had fallen through the clouds and brought them life.

The captain still had one of its feathers; he kept it in his bedroll, and held it while he, too, dreamed fitfully in the red dark.

Return — Return 2 — Return 3 — Return 4 — Return 5 — Return 6

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