Quiana buried Solon’s body in the vegetable plot at the back of his house, then planted wild strawberries over the grave. It took her two days. It had been a very easy death, a slide from sleep to that profounder sleep, and she wondered as she sweated in a straw hat and a pair of green gardening gloves why she hadn’t done it sooner.

Solon was a heavy sleeper. He slept the sleep of the justifiable innocent. In the beginning, before the Plan had gestated inside her, she had watched him sleep in the early hours of the morning, marvelling. She had liked, before, to tease his sleeping body and watch emotions chase each other beneath his eyelids. It was with the same feeling that she had lifted gently one muscled arm and slid the knife into his armpit. It was a sharp knife, and it went into him as easily as water. His eyes had twitched once — some phantom emotion playing there one last time — then he was still and cooling.

A plane flew overhead, single engine growling. She lifted the hat from her sweaty forehead and waved at it. The pilot dipped his wings in response.