The hail came first, always. Before the gales blew slate from the rooves and rooves from the houses, before the snow fell thick as down, bleached heavy as if every watching eye had been poked blind.
Hail loud as thrown gravel, blue like the shallow ocean. The same hail that had fallen the day she vanished, snatching her away into the winds, wrapping her in a cloak of feathery flakes.
And when the hail fell he would watch and wait in case one day it brought her home to him.