He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled her name again. His throat ached and the wind whisked away his feeble offering.
“Elva!” he called, again and again.
The mountains stood sentinel over the parched plain. Tall, brittle grass and thorny bushes littered the landscape. The sun shined in a cloudless sky, a cruel mockery of recent events. His eyes scanned left and right, searching for baby blue against the yellow backdrop.
He walked towards the mountains and did not notice the tombstone until his knee collided with it. After an initial expression of shock he stopped. He climbed atop the stone with a brief grunt, pitching forward for a moment before righting himself. He stood erect, an arm outstretched for balance, and shielded his eyes with a dusty, quivering hand.
The sweet smell of rot tickled his nose and he squeezed his nostrils between a thumb and forefinger. When he looked up again he saw her, a distant swath of blue, the black hair only a dot from his position. He leaped off the tombstone, not caring that it cracked and buckled to the ground in a gray heap. He was concerned with the more recently departed.
He ran on trembling legs, aware of carrion-eaters nearby. When the wind ceased and the grass was still he could hear the groaning of their contorting bellies. They were drawn by the scent in the air, an odor that promised an easy meal. She seemed to be dancing with specters, guided by the gentle nudge of the breeze. He sprinted faster, calling her name between gasps for air, but she did not hear. She was trapped inside her mind and might as well have been on the moon.
“Elva!” he shouted as he stopped before her.
He seized her hand and at that she did favor him with a glance. The sun had burned her porcelain skin an angry hue of red. His eyes followed a trail of small, rust colored puddles on the pixilated earth that stopped at her feet. Blood trickled from her cracked heels. The tip of a nail protruded from the flesh of the left foot and the blood there was black.
He whimpered and pressed his face into her bosom, “They’re all dead, Elva. All dead.”