Taymour Soomro

The horn sounded, startling herons from a distant field. They swooped low overhead, flashing their silver wings, and then away.

He stood a while out on the terrace, up on the ledge, watching the shadows lengthen. The wild grasses surged and dipped like waves, a froth of tiny white flowers for surf here and there.

The room sparkled with dust. He reached his fingers out and made the dust dance in the low beams of light that angled through the windows.

Sometimes, when it was too hot to sleep, when there was no breeze at all, the air still and dry as dirt, they’d look in the night sky for the stars they knew, this galaxy or that: the one shaped like a bowl, the one that was the hunter.

A thick layer of soft dust covers the door. The back wall of the house is a heap of bricks and rubble on the ground and the moon hangs in a corner like a lantern, casting a silvery-pink sheen over everything.

As the track descended, the vegetation became wilder. About halfway down, he saw that the steps reappeared and a finger of grey stone reached to the water. From it, a single tree twisted its black trunk outwards.

He remembers music playing from the lawn, hearing it as he lay in bed upstairs, and laughter and glasses clinking and someone shouting for ice, plenty of ice.