PUBLISHED:Beneath Ceaseless Skies | 5700 words | Reading time: 25 mins
With mother gone, the house falls to silence. Shon knows silence well. He and his father—just the two of them, now—live on what would have been called the edge of the woods, if it were possible to pinpoint where the village ends and the Black Forest begins. In truth, the woods begin in the heart of the village. There, in the square, an ancient oak bears witness to every coming and going. Beech limbs brush the steep jumble of houses surrounding the commons. Beyond those streets, the buildings dwindle, gradually relinquishing the land to the trees. The world becomes a press of green, interrupted only rarely by a cottage—and then, for quite a way, not interrupted at all. Just a little further still, Shon’s home stands. The cottage is taller than it is wide, with a roof that bows like an old nag’s back. Shon’s bedroom nestles in the angled attic space beneath the worn-out thatch, where a single window offers vigil over the trees. He knows the silence outside the house well. The silence inside the house is altogether new.