If the Captain had been worried before, at the beginnings of Ilen’s questioning of his rule, he was now unnerved. Enim’s disappearance caused an outright panic. The children, gone off to scavenge as they had for months now, were no more or less in danger than they had been any other morning, but we who now considered ourselves their parents wailed and screamed for them, as though Enim being missing was an omen of their destruction.
We went to him, ranting and raving, and no amount of his words would quiet the terror we felt, within the very bones of us, each and every one of us made raw by the leaving, as though the separation from them was a loss we could not bear without screaming, tearing at our clothes.
He tried to reason with us, tried to calm us, tried to cajole and soothe and gently shelter us from our own fears. The Captain tried his best, but we were misery made flesh, and we set out to go find them, find the children, bring them back. Now.
We left Songfall, left the camp, left the Captain and the creature behind. Only Luroteo stayed; he would not leave the creature, nor the Captain.
We stumbled out into the night, starving for our children, hungry for knowing where they were, and if they were safe.
We left the home we created behind, and set forth into the ash and dust and rock, up over the hill, and lost sight of the pool, Luroteo standing vigil, and the garden of growing things.
We did not sing.