Way out at the edge of the universe, where the bones of stars turn to crumbs beneath your feet, Barnaby lies on an empty beach.
He is counting flocks of fluffy nebulae through half-closed eyes. The suns went down some hours ago, and the small night is falling, falling, drifting itself deep. It settles lightly, dandelion down on a summer breeze, snagged briefly in spiderweb.
Barnaby remembers when the nights were long. Hulking clunking brutes, they thudded shut about one’s eyes and ears. Drowning nights; slow smotherings. But that was before the bomb made everything brittle and strange as stardust.