Outlandish

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And then, there she is. Standing on the edge of the roof, long leather coat flapping wildly behind her, mahogany hair spread in the air like an underwater halo. Her cheeks are flushed with cold. Her skin is white. She seems… otherworldly.

I cram my fists into my pockets in a feeble attempt to stay warm and slowly make my way towards her, hunkering down in my flimsy woollen jumper against the freezing wind. The storm whips my breath away before it has time to warm my lips and leaves my mouth stinging.

“Luna.” My voice is stolen into the night. I try again, louder. “Luna!”

Her head turns minutely and for a moment I can see the glimmer of her eyes, locked on the city below her. I can’t imagine what she must be hearing right now, what small sounds must be drifting to her finely-tuned ears. Televisions blaring news reports, police radio crackle, gossip between bystanders. Her whole species are suddenly in plain view, unsafe, unwanted, and here she is, witness to all of it. They offered peace and were met with declarations of war. There are no words of comfort I can offer, no explanation for the cruelty of the human race. I feel guilt with painful intensity. It makes my bones ache and exacerbates the relentless cold. My feet scuff gravel as I come to stand beside her, resting my elbows on the half-wall. She doesn’t move.

Silence reigns for an indeterminate amount of time. I wait.

Finally her voice breaks the roar of the storm, cracked and quiet but still beautifully clear, as she turns her gaze toward me.

“Why?” Her eyes are hollow, crippled with pain. The question twists my stomach in knots. She takes a breath and repeats it with a faint note of hysteria. “Why?”

I search for words.

I do not know.

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