Long before this night, years before the truth was free, there were rumors, borne between the verses of his songs, in the wonders, nonetheless, of a world at war with fear. Hope kept them alive, just as hate, too, broods eternal in the heart.

There was a year missing from his biograph.

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Across a crescent sweep of sand comes a taggy tinking of the glass surf of Alluvia. Night thickens, and her fluorescent combs in turn smooth the ancient beach again. Through shadow upon shadow they slip, like spirits through time, content inside the night.

There is magic in Alluvia. Her children hear it on the wind that whispers gusty-tongued past the rocky point, see it in the stars. Cassiopeia. Hector steers in Her direction. Soon He will be home.

Not many call this place their home. In the day, when the light spills across the sea, Alluvia is fearsome, hot as the Beginning. Now, with the promise of the full moon already on the horizon, only the bright dead fish remind Hector of the hard sharp day, for God has made the Night for the People of Alluvia.

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Magdalena feels young again. As the darkness settles gently on her shoulders, she looks, not directly, through the shadows of the far palapa. Expecting.

Todo, even in his cat-eyed jewel hunt, has watched the change come to her, even as he has watched the sunset prepare the way for His return. Frost is coming.

Frost is coming. He will be older. She has seen the photographs, and the lines she traced on his face in the moon are broad. Frost has traveled a thousand roads since she and he were young in Alluvia.

She wonders if he will sing for her again. The few verses she remembers haunt her in their mystery.

But he has sung for many people. He has sung to them the wind and the rain and the moon like an inverted exclamation, shining low across the ocean of Alluvia. She knows Frost makes people glad to be alive.

It seems at times as if Magdalena has not lived since the night he left. He told her once that he would never leave, and when he did, she smiled, for she knew that she was the reason why.

He came to her half-dead once upon a time, looking for truth. He said when it got to be too much he would come back to her for good. And he left with all their songs. And she could only smile.

"Mamacita?" Todo has found his way to her mirror. He is growing.

"Mamacita, will he really come?"

"Yes," she smiles, "Little One. He has promised in his song."

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