They found Vince at his shop, red and breathing heavily. He’d just finished laying out a fresh grave, surrounded with rocks. He’d laboriously chiseled Becky’s name, and the name of their child, onto the rock along with her dates. He’d reverently laid out some of her possessions on the rock and across the fresh-turned earth.

“She didn’t make it, then,” Caleb said. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Vince wheezed. “She wasn’t.” He drove his rusty shovel point-first into the rocky ground and let it hang there. “Sorry you missed the service. Celia said some lovely words. But it’s good to see you up and about. We all told Tobe he was crazy trying to get you patched up, but here we are.”

“I wish I could have done more for Becky,” said Tobe. “You know that the old pills don’t do much anymore.”

“No, they don’t,” said Vince, bitterly. “You know what else doesn’t do much anymore? Standing up to the harvesters, getting shot up, and taking all the tender ministrations our only doctor has to offer while other people are dying.”

Caleb shucked in a sharp breath. “If I could have stayed there on the ground and bled out, I would have, if it meant Becky was still alive.”

“Easy enough to say, now that there’s no chance it’ll happen,” Vince said. “What do you need, hmm? Can’t even help me with the grave now. I suppose you could trade for something, keep me in business for a few more weeks until a miracle happens and we see another caravan?”

“We’re going,” said Caleb. “Following the harvesters. We want you to come with us. You, and Celia, and anyone else we can round up.”

“Oh, well that changes everything,” spat Vince. “Let me just abandon my home, my wife’s grave, and everything I’ve spent half a lifetime building out here just to go chasing phantoms with you.”

“Vince,” Tobe said. “I don’t want to leave either. But we’ll die if we stay.”

“And we’ll die if we go, too. Only there’ll be nothing out there to say we were even here at all.”

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