Sep. 15th, 2006

flybywash: (the ghost months)
They call it the ghost months.

It used to keep time with the moon of Earth-That-Was, and it used to happen every year. They'd tell stories of the dead walking the earth: ancestors returned to visit their families, ghosts sent to snatch the living back through the gates of Hell. They'd burn offerings, perform plays; they'd avoid weddings, water, and open spaces after dark.

They still tell the stories, but only once every seven years now, and for two months straight instead of the ancient tradition of one.

On Sihnon, fires burn bright on the streetcorners, kept in tightly tamped containers with narrow grates along the top. The only paper money this side of the system will ever see (available in packets from the vendor across the street, ten fake bills for one credit) gets tossed inside by passerby, a tourist novelty, a casual afterthought.

Beaumonde's known for its giant theater festival that spans the entire two months, one new play every day. Traditionally, only the best new drama debuts here. A work based on Sing Hua's three-act novels is slated to take center stage at the exact midpoint of this decade's festival, a time slot accompanied by an elaborate all-day buffet and one that's fiercely contested over for years leading up to it. Tickets have been sold out for well over a year and a half.

Nobody living in the Bellerophon Estates will claim to believe the myths, but travel over the vast ocean slows come nightfall anyway. Some even walk to the edge of their property, lean over to look down at the waters, and silently drop paper boats over the side before retreating indoors.

On Serenity, they hold a moment of silence, and nobody finishes their entire meal or cleans up the dishes after dinner.

In Wash and Zoe's bunk, Wash falls asleep within minutes of his head hitting the pillow.

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flybywash

January 2007

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