He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled her name again. The wind whisked away the thin wail, and he massaged his aching throat.
“Elva!” he called, again and again.
The mountains stood sentinel over the parched plain of brittle grass and thorny bushes. 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.
Seeing no option, he walked towards the mountains, unaware of the tombstone until his knee collided with it. After an initial expression of shock, he stopped. Grunting, he scrambled atop the stone and pitched forward for a moment before righting himself. With one arm outstretched for balance, he stood erect and shielded his eyes with a dusty, quivering hand.
The sweet smell of rot tickled his nose, and he pinched 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 heap of gray rubble. The more recently departed demanded his sympathies.
He ran on trembling legs, aware of carrion-eaters nearby. When the wind ceased and the rustling grass quieted, he could hear the groaning of their contorting bellies. The scent in the air beckoned, a miasma that promised an easy meal. She swayed in an elliptical pattern, her eyes downcast and seeing nothing. He sprinted faster, calling her name between gasps for air, but she did not hear. She was trapped within the prison of her mind.
“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 ended at her feet. Blood oozed thickly from her cracked heels. The tip of a nail protruded from the flesh of the left foot and crusted, black blood encircled the wound.
Whimpering, he pressed his face into her bosom, “They’re all dead, Elva. All dead.”