Costa stood beneath the dead hawthorn tree at the edge of the crater, peering downward against the sting of rising smoke. He was transfixed, and stood staring late into the night. His body shivered against the breeze coming off the cold rock face behind him, and the mockery of the hyaenas did not abate, but he did not look away for even a moment.
Something down there was moving.
He’d seen the fireball cut a hole right across the sky and bury itself here in the ground. And then the sounds started. Costa had heard nothing like it before in his many hard years, and he found himself drawn to it out of a fascination that exceeded even his terror. But the terror was still there, ever present at his side.
So which was it that beckoned his legs to begin to walk down into the crater? The wonder? Or the fear? Or was it some other compulsion entirely?
Costa thought about these questions in his own way, as if an observer, somehow absent of the confines of his body. Perhaps this was a premonition of the liberation soon to come. Perhaps.
Down he walked, one slow step at a time.
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.