Across the wide lake, the wide lake…

“Oil floats on water,” drawls Tex.

“Ayeh,” says Hoagy. Hoagy isn’t much of a talker, but his lean, long-boned face is expressive. The sun is setting behind the holly oaks that ring the lake, magic trees, druidic. The last rays on the highest dome in the city flash like fire.

“Where d’you reckon they got all of it? Wouldn’t’ve said there was enough left to work a lighter.”

Hoagy hacks and spits a black wad of stuff into the rainbow sheen of the water. It sinks immediately, vanishes beneath the oil.

Figures make their way out of the city, black and tiny in the twilight, in the distance. Torches wink and laugh in their hands. Across the lake comes the sound of singing, high and joyous.

“Poor Mary,” says Tex. He is dark and weathered. Ugly.

“Ayeh,” says Hoagy. They stand with their hands in their pockets, soaked to the knees on the rocky island where their boat crashed, and watch the march of the torches, listen to the far-distant singing.


“Ayeh.” And the torches bend to the oil, across the wide lake, the wide lake…