the land gave an impossibly heavy sigh and a great horde was unburdened all at once, a scattershot of souls released to wander across innumerable landscapes and topologies. one roamed a desert for many years; another, a frigid tundra; yet another, the depths of a forsaken sea… on and on, so many radials blossoming from the origin in a strange and unnerving fractal. each dragged one foot in front of the other, half-conscious, understanding only a blind imperative to continue ever forward, away and apart, like marbles rolling from a dropped pouch. occasionally one’s arc would overcome this punishing reverse magnetism and loom closer to another’s path. the two would slow and gravitate briefly, try in vain to share their pasts and all they had seen—but having not enough words or time or energy or empathy, they would part again and mourn that which they could never know. some would encounter the same others more than once, while others would never even come to know that convergence was possible. on and on they each walked, carving vast swaths across the land, an ageless patchwork of incredible beauty and complexity forming beneath their weary feet.

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