From the window of the citadel, high above the trees, they could see the village below.
There was the house they had lived in as a child.
There was the chimney, a wisp of smoke idling out in the still of the springtime air.
There was the roof they had climbed on as a child.
There was the pathway into the forest, where the monsters lived at night.
There were the trees that hugged their childhood home.
Down below the citadel.
They leaned out of the window, studied the brick of the wall below them, examining the cracks and the crannies and the missing bits of mortar.
There was a hole in the brickwork large enough that the twigs of a bird’s nest jutted out of it.
There was a crack in the mortar that snaked down the wall, caked with the stains of rain and rot.
They felt the cold air on their naked flesh and wondered if time would ravage their skin so harshly.
They wondered if it already had.
In a rush of a breeze, they heard their name, and looked around.
But they were alone.
The village was abandoned.
The childhood home was derelict.
There was nothing here for them but the birds in the nest and the monsters in the woods.
And the memories of tears.
— Clio 04.09.21