As always, this is presented unedited, so pardon any strangeness. Enjoy!
His gaze passed me, passed the walls and the orchards and the market and any who dwelled here. “They will never return, I think,” he said quietly.
“But where have they gone?” I was still in the terrible habit of whining, though you can be assured Apple would eventually divest me of it.
“No one knows. They made something. Created a place. If you look at sunset, you can see where they tore the world open to make their path.”
I stared. “In the orchard?”
“In the orchard. It shows, as a scar – if you look in peripheral view, of course. I have not yet been able to reopen it.”
He changed the subject.
That afternoon, I made my excuses and made my way to the orchard – deeper in than the places where my friends and I played. It was a quiet place, shadowed and free of little growth, the sky hidden in whorls and weirs of thick branches and crooked spaces.
I found the place where the Dream had left, and indeed, it had been torn.
It hung jagged in the air, obscene from top to bottom, a slitted vertical eye held closed by unseen power.
I could touch it, wave my hand through it, feel the slightest resistance – and I could not see if it I looked at it straight on.
It felt… different. Different as soil feels different from sand – a different air, a different quality, a different place.
I understood now how everyone who’d inspected it understood the Dream were gone for good. They had made a home untouched by the war and simply… gone to it.
Tiny yearning tugged at me. What would I find, if I could find my way there? Would I be expendable? Would I find life? Would it be a place of quiet, ranging open spaces, without the ravages of evil things?
It would not open for me. I whispered, prayed at it, asked the wind to help me, but it would not open. The Dream, it seemed, did not wish those touched by the war to follow them there.
That night, though my heart ached, I understood. Were I to find a place of peace, I would not want conflict to follow me there, either.