The fire casts a dancing shadow across her face. Nobody remembers how old she is, but we know that she is old enough to have seen Magic when it still existed. Even though she wears a multitude of robes and scarves, you can tell where she was burned by the singing fire. I’m scared to touch her, but Ladis has always been bolder. He reaches out as she weaves her story and rests his hand on her arm, a lattice of scars run up it, spreading out over her face.
LADIS: Oma, tell us more about the machines!
OMA: Every morning, as I walked to school, in the distant fog I’d see the foreman. He would pull out a whistle and play a series of notes. They were shrill, an instruction in a melody. And the machines would begin to move. Their massive pistons would go up and down, up and down. You could feel the vibrations through the earth. They were pumping up water from deep underground. As the day went on we would hear more whistling from the factory, it became a song that the town moved in rhythm too. (she smiles)
LADIS: (He is silent, in deep thought for a moment) Hardly anyone lives her now.
OMA: Yes (she rests her hand on Ladis’ head). When the Silence came, people left, and the ones that stayed have passed through the Gate.
LADIS: Will we ever hear the Song again?
OMA: The three— Ter look kindly on us, that you will.
Oma looks sad, she absentmindedly continues to stroke my brother’s hair. It must be hard living somewhere that used to be full of noise and life, where nothing but wind-worn ruins and gravestones remain. Ladis is oblivious to this, he asks her for more stories, this time about a long-forgotten battle. Oma straightens up, the little she can, and begins to tell a grand tale of a battle fought with hurricanes and lightning and fire. I get caught up in it too, and the night passes on.