he wasn't quite thinking

[thinking would only prove this

grim reality that he was so sure

he had caused.

but he ended up on the crumbling

stone steps of his apartment building,

just blocks from the mall, anyway.

he fell upon the steps, a weary,

ruffled mess, & jumped when he heard the

child's voice cry out from behind him,

following him & his full & dirty conscience.

Jack fell down and broke his crown

& silence again for a moment.

silent silence. terrible silence.

it reigned even with the angry wind

twisting its way in & out of the

ruins of the city.

& in that brief moment, he wished

for nothing more than to hear the

savory sound of the voice that

had been following him. he

wished it to return.

he caught his breath,

[his head was pounding

& he looked around wildly,

expecting to see the specter of a

happy child run out from under the

blasted support beams & strewn rubble.

& suddenly he heard laughter somewhere

far away, sweet noise carried by the

still howling wind. he looked up into

the gust with bleary eyes & watched a

small, shadowy figure dancing in the

middle of the obliterated street.

the strange figure was prancing atop

shattered glass which made serene sounds

when mixed with the solemn notes of

broken hopes & dreams, & singing a

little tune.

Jack and Jill went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water

Jack fell down and broke his crown

and Jill came tumbling after.

the fragile outline of the child waved at him with a laugh before vanishing into the bitter wind.

& the howling in his ears grew louder

& more painful.

he cried because he was so terribly,

terribly a l o n e.

& that was the end of everything.

a lonely wind. a desolate soul.