He could feel the smooth metal of the rail in his hand, and smell the briny water that lapped and rippled in front of the gathered crowd. Even so, it didn’t seem real. One minute there had been explosions all around, screams and the zipping of plane engines. He’d ducked and covered his head as bombs rained down. He felt the shrapnel tear him apart. The next? Sunshine and quiet water and the hum of chatter.
People milled about holding up what appeared to be little walkie talkies for snapping photographs, but no one seemed to notice him. He looked out on the water, seeing the slick of pink and green and purple rainbows stretching and swirling on the surface. Part of it and also not.
Taking a shuffled step back, the people behind him parting the way though they did not do so with any purpose related to his presence. He turned, his heart beating faster and his mind filling with more questions than answers. A wall of names, etched in marble, shining in white and maintained as if this place had not just been ruins moments ago. One step closer, and then two, his eyes were drawn to one name. His name. He stepped back, feeling his gorge rise. How could any of this be real?