The desolation is stark, separate; a knife's edge parts it from the other, keeps cutting through the flesh of the day, and sunlight bleeds from the cuts and scorches everything bleach-white and vacant.

The fence line is collapsed in places, forgotten for the most part. Its posts rot away, and its wire, barbed and blunted just the same, rusts silently.

In the sparse shade beneath the the gnarled gum tree, its bark stringy and paper-white, its leaves ghostly grey and yellow, the two of them sit, and watch the empty day. The glare of the sun makes them blink more often than they would normally, but neither of them minds; it is too hot to move, too hot to leave the shadows.

They wait.

No words pass between them, because no words ever do; they are constant companions, as fate has dictated.

One of them runs his hand through the scraggly grass that surrounds them, and his hand makes contact with the hard bone of a cow's skull, its hollow eye sockets and death's head grin looking directly at his friend.

She ignores the stare, and just watches the day.

He drums his fingers along the crown of the skull, across the empty brain pan. Cosmic flotsam drifts across the outer edges of his vision, and his eyes are drawn into the middle distance, between the rotting fence line and the road, and he frowns.

Brow creased, he pushes himself up from the ground, and she looks at him.

Shaking his head, he wanders down, into the blistering heat, ignoring the discomfort of his bare feet in the dust against the prickly dried out grasses.

He carries the skull with him, though he doesn't realise it until he reaches the point between the fence and road. He blinks, and lifts the skull up, holding it at eye level. It surveys him, his craggy, weatherbeaten face and heavily-lidded eyes.

He hears her padding up behind him.

Voice hollow and thick with disuse, he says, "I want to go home."