A season of plague has come to the city and everyone who can has left for the hills and the seaside, hoping a change in air will protect them, hoping their money will serve as enough of a prophylactic.

The rest of us cling to our homes, windows sealed, doors locked, blinds closed, and drown out the roaring of the corpse fires with impromptu concerts, middling voices and terrible raised over an amateur piano or radios tuned so high the speakers crack. Shadows of beasts pass over our blinds at dawn, at noon, at twilight, and we shudder and pray for deliverance.

Fever slips past somehow, and a house cracks open, families scattering through the streets, scratching desperately at locked doors, silent windows, looking for purchase, any purchase, out of the wind, out of the smoke. The beasts catch the unlucky few still out, and in our caves we sing that much louder, waiting for the season to turn.