The bakery was the last building standing and so everyone gathered around its two and a half walls, its one miraculous window. They took turns walking up to what was left of the counter, ordering biscuits and scones from the unblinking baker now floured in ash. One line of red you could trace up his apron to a flap of skin hanging from his chin.

The biscuits and scones had been reduced to black pebbles and nobody seemed sure what to do with them, why they wanted them. Some licked.  Others, with nothing left to carry, cupped them like eggs, like answers. The children were the most inventive, building palaces around the pebbles, summoning six-horned beasts to guard them. The pebbles were magic, they said. Yes! If you plant them, new buildings will grow! You’ll see, papa, we’ll have a city again! MORE