The stillness was what shook her the most. Not the screams — they came later. Not the pain — that was a constant. No. What really surprised her was the moment of absolute purity, that punctuated time between the very last blast and the first cries for help.
It was solitude.
A forgotten whisper of what once was and what never could be again. In those brief seconds the differences and divisions were forgotten. Anger and frustration wiped clean. It was raw, unfiltered humanity. It was the will, no, the need to live.
The lust for life unites us, she thought. Isn’t it quite peculiar how we all, deep down, understand that living is itself an exercise in futility? Yet we struggle on, united in our pursuit of that which we hope will matter long after we are gone. For that which will bear our names, our traces, beyond a time when we, and all we know, have turned to dust.
From dust you rose to dust you shall scatter — it was a saying her Grandfather had been particularly fond of. How true, she thought, how fucking true.
And just like that, the moment was gone.
As she was lifted into the air by the force of impact, a single sound cut through the night. Her body hit the ground and she recognized it as a child’s cry. A second moment of stillness rang out and she had just enough time to think —
It’s okay my child. From dust you rose, to dust you shall scatter.