Torches lit the bier around her. The others stood silent, respecting her sorrow. They watched, letting their tears fall into their beards.
She cried to the dark sky, screaming, pouring her heart out to the emptiness above.
Finally, she stepped away. “Let the stars have him,” she spoke with husky voice. She refused to let her hands shake.
She clamped her mouth shut as the boy stepped forward, torch in hand. He thrust the flame under one of the cords, and then the next, and then the next. He circled the bier until every rope binding the bier snapped under the heat.
His body floated for a moment above the twigs, and then the wind took it. Her beloved rose into the dark air and flung itself up into the blackness. The void swallowed him. She watched until he was gone.
She turned to face the other men. “My husband has flown to the stars to reunite with his soul. We remain here, under the stars. Let us continue.” She did not let her voice shake. They needed her strong now.
The men raised their fists together. “Until the stars take us!”
She nodded. “Until the stars take us.”