On the ridge, a shrewdness of apes. Against a red sky. Still, black silhouettes. Palings. Menhirs.
You watch them. They have ceased to move. They move as much as the ridge moves, that stony moraine calved by ice and gnawed by lichen. The sun is going down behind you, the air is precipitant with dying light.
You watch them. They do not move, but this is deceptive. What do they carry. A long blade of grass? A shaft of bamboo, a spear? A basket full of desiccated fruit, a heavy recalcitrant rock, a curled child?
You watch them; it grows darker. The wind shifts. The cold seeps from the stones, falls around your head. Your cheeks are burnt with darkness. The scent of minerals in cold water, algae, salt-carved wood. Then something else: warm hair, dry skin, sour milk. Sweat. Preserved flowers. Motor oil. Baking bread. Coffee grounds. Your tongue when you first wake from a night of painful dreams.
They have not moved. They are waiting for something. They do not move, but almost beneath hearing, there is a sound. A paper cup on a glass table top. A piano string plucked by the curious hand of a child. A shoe falling from a shelf. A distant rock slide. Gunfire. The bite of an ax blade. A glass cracking with heat.
The light is gone. You stand watching in the chill night. Shadows, ice in the wind.
In the morning you will climb the ridge, the sun will paint the stones with heatless pastels, you will be alone with the boulders, the lichen. You will cross over into another valley, brimming with mist.