Calm Before the Storm

Dusk is descending. With it comes calm.

The sound of my footfalls on the stone roadway echo off the buildings. A black cat dashes across the road. A breeze blows between the houses. As it comes and goes, it sounds like the city is breathing.

I hate everything about this. I hate being alone. I hate walking through the city, knowing that in a few hours, everything is going to change. It’s so quiet. Those who aren’t preparing for battle have gone to seek shelter somewhere. I needed some fresh air, a chance to take one last look at the way things used to be. But they’ve already changed. I’ve never felt more alone than I do right now.

I kick a rock back up the road, pause to listen to its sharp clatter. The sound stops abruptly and I look up. It’s not a surprise to see Kiel standing there. He always knows when I need to talk, or even just need some company. He leaves the rock where he stopped it with his foot and comes toward me.

“Are you all right?” he asks.

I nod. I am now.

We continue on together.

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