Author: Immy Basmar

A lifetime ago, Velvet loved playing in the purple sands at the edge of town. Antiman, who spent all his days there, would chastise her for galivanting on the carcasses of gods and tell his stories of a long-forgotten race, whose metal bodies had ridden off to die all at once. The sand had been red at first, but the water washed them away piece by piece until only their stone hearts remained. With nowhere to go, they could only be crushed finer and finer, creating mounds that grew and grew.

Time has not changed him. He is as loud and battered at before, treats her as he did when she was barely a child.

“They were better than us,” he cries now, “We let them down.”

Age has turned her into a messy mound of flesh, desperate in ways she hadn’t been before, but not stupid. Beneath Ant’s tattered coat are poles and wires instead of an arm. But he is no god.

Even after all this time, he tells her only lies.

“Do you have a heart?” she asks then, “Will you miss me?”

Together, they make a one out of sand. He guides her, as best he can, dancing down the hill for the last time.