Thanks for the prompt!
I can’t really remember the time-line from the end of the second spackle war and the arrival of the new convoy, so I kind of made it up whoops.
This’ll be in 2nd person, from Viola’s pov
To mourn, vb, [mohrn, mawrn]
1. The act of expressing and feeling extreme sorrow and grief
2. To grieve or lament for the (not yet…not yet) dead
3. To show the conventional signs of sorrow over somebodies (NO) death
You sit and then you stand and now you’re sitting again.
The world turns and you don’t stand.
The moon smiles across the sky and kisses it’s sister and you do.
Caught in the endless loop of sitting and standing and being present and absent and cautious, you begin to wonder. You look at the stars and wonder. You look at his face and wonder.
The first whispers that had promised them his life had fallen away into a black swarm of nothingness.
Rewind and you’re on a ship. Rewind and you’re in your room and your sitting and you’re looking out the window and you cannot speak. You think about the world you’re going to—
A world built entirely on hope
—and you wonder if you will see the stars in a place that is so far away from where you are now. You look to your father but he only laughs and strokes your hair and says things you don’t understand.
Something about distance. Something about the true sizes of your tiny pinpricks of light.
You look to your mother and she smiles and sits beside you. You cry when you hear what she says. She regrets it immediately.
The stars you see are likely to be dead, she says and her voice is as thick and slow and salty as caramel. The stars are dead.
You wonder if you killed them.
You do not ask.
You grow up and you learn.
You remember your sadness at learning of the decoration that unfurls itself, a banner to herald a orchestra of dreams and nightmares, and you do not lose that sadness. It is a dull ache inside of you. It is a pin in your foot and an unbeatable snag in your hair.
So now you sit and you’re suspended between the stars of whom you once wanted to claim and the boy who had promised himself to you. You sit at the edge of infinity and the grasp of something that could be so black and poisonous and deadly but could also be something golden and light and pure and warm.
“My dearest Todd”
You’ve repeated the phrase so incessantly that it remains burned to the back of your eyelids when you manage to shut off. It blinds you and deafens you and it is your only foothold, your only hope, in this world in suspension. A world caught between the grace of the heavens and the turbulence below.
He is breathing. And the stars still gaze down at you.
He is not breathing. There are clouds. The aliens rush around you like crazed wolves, salivating and fighting. Ben holds your hand and you stare and stare and stare and you wish, you wish more than anything, that you believed in the divine. You wish that you had someone to pray to. You wish you had that comfort.
He is breathing again and now Lee is beside you. He is kind and although you hurt him, although he cannot see you he pictures you in his mind. In there you are always clean and pretty, smiling and tugging at your sleeve self-consciously. Lee sees you watch him and does not push. Lee sees you watch him and realizes you were never his, he was never yours. Lee holds your hand and watches him with you. You fall asleep with your friends warmth and his loyalty pressed into your side like a bunched up blanket.
You never cry.
Sometimes you think about what your mother said.
You tell Ben, “I don’t think he’s going to wake up.”
Ben’s noise rages and you can see that he believes like you do. You can see the pain and the black and the red and the madness that is held at bay by you and by the soft rise and fall of his chest.
You try not to flinch, but you are frightened.
Ben assures you that he will wake. Throughout his mind and broadcasted to the world, the word LIE is screeched red and black and the turbulent purple of a rain cloud.
The fourth week comes and you don’t know how long you can take it.
The fourth week comes and your eyes cannot fix onto the page. The fourth week comes and his breathing is deeper but you’re too exhausted to be relieved.
"Sleep," it is insisted. You shake your head. "Don’t kill yourself waiting for him."
Your dreams are full of stars and planets and your mothers red lips spelling out words that haunt you and will haunt you to the day you die.
You wake and you go to him and you sit and you read. The words no longer slide off the page.
His noise begins to stretch it’s legs.
At first it’s nothing.
Your name, said with a reverence that seems too personal, too there, for any ears than yours.
Other times it’s Ben and Cillian and him and they’re sitting or their standing and there is laughter in the air. Laughter and fun and love, so much love it makes your heart ache with the idea that anyone could be so full of goodness.
The memories are played through the air, just memories, no distinct thoughts or opinions or words. Like a movie through the air, words whispered, suggestions to the whole picture. Sometimes it wasn’t him at all that was remembering. Sometimes it was them, the them who had killed him, the aliens who were saving him.
You think about the stars.
You think about how you see there light even after they’re dead, how they give off beacons of hope, only to find that there was never really any hope at all.
You think about him.
The brief glimpses of sleep you manage to catch is full of shadow and the final song of a swan before it dies.
Then, one day, you wake up, and you sit beside him.
You’ve lost weight, you realise. Your hair droops and is unwashed. You nails are long and cracked at the tip. Your skin is dusty and you smell like agony.
That day there is no wind and the world is holding it’s breath. The convey has arrived and you have had nothing to do with them. You wonder if they ask after you, the people who you grew up with. You imagine the murmurings of the dying king and his one in particular. The lament of the queen and the boy who dared place hope in her heart.
That day the grass does not sway, nor green, nor brown. The clouds that had moved in stay and block out the sun. When night ticks around the moon’s are hidden. They do not kiss as they cross the sky. They do not leave a sprinkle of stars in their wake, like the flowers tossed from the basket in a wedding procession.
It is midnight and you are still awake. For the first time in forever you feel strong. For the first time in forever the noise that surrounds you, that becomes you, his memories and his love, is your crutch rather than a blow. Because he is here—
The cows in the meadow and here, here, here
—He is healing—
The gun in his hands, the bullet in your stomach and him running, carrying, screaming, fighting
—The aliens call him the Knife—
a knife in her hand, murder and blood, bone, snarls, a foot on the edge of a waterfall
—When they look at you they can’t meet your eyes.
And then he wakes.
His eyes crack open, bleary and teary from disuse. The midnight air is frigid but you leap at him and you hold him and you keep each other warm.
And his noise rockets through the air and it’s so happy and full and you can see yourself transmitted throughout it a hundred times, your face so small and blackened and tired, the bruises under your eyes and the hollowness of your cheeks, and then the bright, bright light in your eyes.
And you look at him and you hold him and you cry and you hold each other, two people clinging to one another like two weeds on a rock face. Two flowers on the front of a cliff.
Ben comes in and you watch and you see. You look and you witness. Because Ben sees Todd and the madness melts away. It crumbles into ash, the sort of ash that fertilizes the lands and sweeps away decay.
They hold each other, father and son.
Their noises are similar now. Todd’s echoes with a severe intensity, his words are spoken without his mouth.
He looks at you, he’s still lying down. His feet cannot move, his arms wasted their energy consoling those who thought him lost.
He looks at you, your Todd, the star that went against the system, the exception to the detrimental rule.
He looks at you and you look back. His eyes are glistening and he’s embarrassed to be crying, but more than that, more than any other thought he has, he is smiling. He is happy. He is filled with hope and joy and everything in between.
You hold Ben’s hand, and Todd’s weakened—
But still there, oh God, so warm and present and there
—one and you talk and laugh and cry. The spackle leave you to yourselves. The Land transmit the message to the city.
Like a tidal wave of glory, the city responds.