11,041 vagabonds plus:
Everyone seemed to be looking through Adeline. She smiled and looked down as always, but a silent, invisible calling cut through her. 'They know me', she thought, 'Why do they ignore me? I've carried their weight, powdered their babies, given rides with the wind to pleading children hoisted in my basket, pasted the corner of picnic tables with bulging blueberry pies under cloth at Summer Musicale'. The ruddy-faced man at the market, the town gossip in a print dress, the constable sporting a handlebar mustache - nothing.
Timpani drums beat a steady song. She thought they came in the direction of home, but they did not grow louder, remaining the same on her eardrums and matching the beat of her heart. She headed home along the pasture lane, the only lane in the village, the wind kicking up once and sweeping away her broad-brimmed hat, the tall hay-colored grass waving. A carriage approached and she stepped aside out of its moping way. It stopped a moment, the pale rider tipped his hat. The drums ceased. She was so assuredly glad to be noticed, she nodded twice.
"Look at that sky", she exclaimed. Giant pastel clouds braided one another. "It is heavenly", she whispered to herself.
"It is for you, Adeline", he said hoarsely, turning and looking at the scene over his left shoulder. She saw his face was lunular, the rest of his profile dark. "You will be there very soon", voice fading, and he dissolved before her, carriage and all.
image by Musin Yohan
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