[This post is from Matt’s point of view.]
Matt wandered down the hill behind the forge once Phelan had gone to get the others for what was sure to be a series of long and difficult conversations. The buildings that had once perched on the edges of the ravine had long ago gone to ruin, only the barest remnants still visible beneath blankets of grass and saplings. It had, after all, been almost twenty years since their world had changed forever.
There was a field of lavender across where a dorm had stood, once, nestled beneath an oak that was nearly as old as his son. Staring at its branches, for a second he dared to wonder if his grandchildren would someday play among those boughs, if they would gather bunches and handfuls of the lavender for his daughter, for his wife.
He wondered if in the years before they’d gone, Thom and Marin had wondered the same of their grandchildren.
It’s a luxury I have—to wonder. Did they ever really have it?
Perhaps they’d seen it—seen a future where children laughed among the branches, chased each other along the ravine’s edge, the children of their children. Perhaps they’d seen a future beyond that still. It had been their gift and their curse. Often, it had been both at once.
His lips thinned. His nephew had most of the books, now, the journals where Thom and Marin had written down many of their visions from over the years. There were three, though, that Matt had never let him see—two at the request of his brother-in-law, one at the request of his sister.
Having read them, he understood why.
His lips thinned and he shivered despite the warmth of the sunshine.
“There are still things we hope you were wrong about,” he whispered into the breeze, the words lost in the wind and the solitude. “Some things haven’t changed.”