Lightning slithered through fields of grey. The sky and the earth were identical ashen grounds and a soft breeze rustled the dried grasses and stirred the mottled clouds. Silence was heavier than the thousands of blackbirds who flew over the fields, just under the clouds. They cast flickering silhouettes whose dark flames licked at the dry earth, scorching it further and scattering the ashes that seemed to cover every withered flower and blade of yellow grass. Death’s fleeting shadow morphed into each silhouette, and its frost-bitten kisses smothered the last blooming flowers until they, too, were grey.