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At first we laughed it off as foolish when they told us of their plans, steadfast in our refusal to believe. But they continued meeting weekly in the forts they’d built in trees, and we began to take their threats more seriously. Even the youngest seemed possessed of an unwavering resolve. They just smiled and skirted questions expertly. And when we locked them in their bedrooms refusing them assembly they just waited out the sentence patiently.
We still don’t know why they felt they had to go.
Letter, literature, and photograph were all refused, deepening our anger and our hurt. Wild-eyed mothers pressed small keepsakes to their children’s chests, but they were left to fall, unwanted, to the dirt. They ignored the provocations of our provocateurs. Division and inducement were dismissed. Campaigns that we devised at townhalls espousing our values did not go over the way that we had wished.
For a year we kept our eyes fixed squarely upon the horizon. Tried to keep our hope from loosening its grip. And for a year we kept suspicion trained upon our friends and allies. Tried to find the Piper in our midst. We began resenting time, who’d pass and steal away our hours and then offer us nothing in return. I cannot say which one of us was first to strike a match, but I can tell you no one stayed to watch it burn.