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“Look,” he said, pointing. “They’re like… diamonds.”

She looked up and stared. The rising lights sparkled and refracted, dancing in an entrancing kaleidoscopic display.

“It’s beautiful,” she whispered. “What is it?”

He knelt beside her. “If you ask the Admeri, they say it’s their souls. They sing the song of twilight and release their soul into the night, to explore and adventure. It returns each morning with the song of waking.”

The wind shifted, and brought the song to their ears. It sounded strange and otherworldly, a sound that couldn’t be reproduced by human tongues.

“My god,” she said. “They do this every night? All of them?”

He nodded. “Without fail. They say that an Admeri who does not or cannot sing is cursed. That’s why these fellows can’t go back.”

He gestured over his shoulder to the slaves who were loading the waggons.

She glanced at them and frowned. “I don’t like the way they stare,” she said.

He shrugged. “You’re new. They haven’t seen a human female before. They’ll get used to you and stop staring, the way they got used to being silent when Franks tore their tongues out.”

She shuddered. “He scares me almost as much.”

He patted her shoulder. “I wouldn’t worry. You’re almost as much of an investment to him as this planet is. He’ll never hurt you.”

He stood and went to the front of the waggons, leaving her alone with the silent, resentful stares of the Admeri slaves.

© Kari Fay