12 iv) Fassn grabs up a pinch of dust and dirt

Fassn grabs up a pinch of dust and dirt from the floor and rubs it between his finger and thumb, slowly working the grit over the sensitive pads. The hut is silent enough to hear the grating sound as each tiny grain collides with others. “Listen,” He says.

Shyan controls her breathing, tunes her ears to hear it too. It’s an earthy sound, calling to mind quakes and tremors on a near-atomic scale. A smile plays at the edge of her lips.

“See? It’s not all bad.” Fassn opens his palm and presses it into the dirt floor, leaving a splay-fingered impression. Shyan follows suit. “There’s warmth in the earth,” Fassn says. “You just have to feel it.”

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