LM knelt by the body one more time. “You are not fey, Capernaum of The Institute, nor are you a member of my schie a kehn. But I will tell you two great truths as if you were. One truth: My life was full of hurt and despair before you appeared. I believed for the longest time that my schie a kehn surrendered me to that vampire’s circus. I believed I was unwanted. I believed I didn’t matter to my schie a kehn. Now…I still don’t know the truth, but I don’t care. They never came for me. You did. You came and you rescued me. And that is one truth.”
The night air sparked with firefly glow.
“Two truth: I am grateful for all that you’ve done. You cared for me when no one else did. You never looked down on me and my deformed wings. You never, ever made me feel like I was half of anything. Capernaum of The Institute, you made me feel whole and entire. And I will miss you every single day. That is my second truth.”
The fireflies surrounded LM.
“And I will now dance for you, Capernaum of The Institute.”
LM raised his hands into the air and danced a dirge. It wasn’t the practiced, established funeral dance that every fey had to learn from childhood.
Each hand gesture and hunched posturing spoke of longing and loss. His own personal loss and no one else’s. No fey had ever danced a dirge quite like this one.
This dirge was all his own.
His unspoken words.
His unsung music.
The fireflies circled his arms and curved around his body, lighting his skin and hair and stiff wings.
He keened a wail that blossomed into a heartbroken melody.
The fireflies left him and settled on Capernaum, concealing all of the burns with their cold steady glow.
LM finished his dance. He covered his mouth with his hands and whispered into them. He pushed the magic at Capernaum.
His glowing body rose into the air and descended into the eight-foot grave. It touched the ground.
The glow disappeared.
LM picked up the shovel.
“Time to do the part that hurts.”
He dug into the dirt and dropped it on Capernaum.
Shovelful after shovelful.
The dirt rained on him.
The dirt landed on him.
The dirt covered him.
Slowly but surely, it concealed him.
And LM kept burying him.
One shovel full of dirt at a time.
“I’m here, LM. I’m here.”
“No! You will not touch him!”
“LM! We created our first elemental! Do you want to see it?”
“It’s okay. You can stay with me tonight.”
I should sing the usual funeral song, but I can’t.
I can’t swallow.
I doubt I can talk.
I probably shouldn’t try to sing.
“LM. You don’t have to be afraid. Don’t be afraid.”
“LM. I’m not sorry I rescued you.”
“LM. I…no regrets…rescu…”
Tears hit the dirt, softening it, muddying it one drop at a time.
And LM softly, brokenly sang the fey’s funeral song as he buried his friend.