Memorial
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On the third sunset of the third day, the traveler and the repentant arrived at the Memorial.

“Well, here it is,” said the traveler. She shifted her feet in the ash. There was always so much ash. “It was a nice journey, but I’m afraid this is where we go our separate ways.”

The repentant was humbled by the sight. The traveler was not; she had been blind since her thirties. “Yeah,” she mumbled, “yeah, it was great travelling with you. You’re good company.”

“Same to you.”

A minute passed under the monolith. The repentant stepped forward until her fingers hovered just before the slick metal surface, afraid to taint it with her print. The traveler stayed where she was and meditated on the noise of eternally falling cinders.

Finally, the repentant’s voice broke the silence: “I never asked. What’s your name?”

She snorted. “Never ask for someone’s name around here, you’ll only get falsities.”

“Oh.”

“Call me Anastasia.”

The repentant said, “that’s funny. My name’s Anna."

Anastasia, the traveler, looked in the direction of her acquaintance. “I’ll like to ask a question for you, too. What’s a lady who doesn’t even know about names want to do with an old battleground?”

Anna looked up into the bleak grey sky. Flakes of ash drifted down like melancholic snowflakes. “Let’s just say,” she hesitated, “I wanted to honor someone I knew long, long ago.”

Anastasia dipped her head. “I hope you find what you’re looking for. When you’re ready to leave, just follow the second north star and you’ll be home. Goodbye.” And then the blind woman turned around and disappeared into the fog.

Anna lingered for a few more minutes in silence. She gently nested a bouquet of pink carnations at the base of the memorial, wiped away a tear, and reminisced on honey eyes. Then she too was gone.

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