Though a tiny village like this might see its share of years, as a rule, the size of the community didn’t fluctuate. The eighty or so homes wavered in the warming light. Every last bit of the lingering snow had been consumed by the black soil, and spring was near.
Doors of reinforced plastic and specially treated lumber hung open, swinging with the feeble breeze; in the communal cookery, which should have been roiling with the lively voices of wives and children preparing for the evening meal, only dust danced alone.
The majority of the homes remained in perfect order, with no signs of struggle, but in one or two there were overturned chairs in the living rooms. There was one house where the bed covers were disheveled, as if someone just settling down to sleep had gotten out of bed to attend to some trifling matter.