[This post is from Matt Astoris’s point of view.]
For a few seconds, Matt closed his eyes, listening to the small sounds around him—the sound of his nephew’s footsteps down the path, the soft hiss and crackle of the forge, the sound of drizzle on the roof, the rumble of distant thunder. They were sounds that marked the cadence of his life, had marked the cadence of his life for nearly two decades.
And yet, there were still the long-ago echoes of a different life that drifted back to him—the laughter and chatter of college students moving along the paths between dorms and classes, meetings and meals. The chime of the clocktower’s bells, the ghosts of which still haunted his dreams sometimes, though the bells hadn’t sounded since the end of everything came. He wasn’t the only one who heard the call of those bells over the years—it was a conversation he and his friends had had time and again. Sometimes, they would hear the song, tricks of memory that seemed to be made real.
“I hope he actually saw a memory of you, Mar,” he whispered into the empty force. “I hope it wasn’t something else.”
Ghosts haunted them, haunted everywhere they’d ever gone. As much as J.T. tried to reassure them that they weren’t a big problem—if a problem at all—sometimes, Matt wondered.
He also still wondered what else haunted their home, beyond just the ghosts of those now long gone.
Maybe getting away will be good for them. Something different—something new.
Exhaling a sigh, he pulled the metal from the forge and laid it on the anvil again. He rolled his shoulder and began to hammer again, the motion and the sound a soothing rhythm that had ordered his world since the August Sunday when everything he’d ever known had changed.