They began the ritual. They had practised it faithfully in preparation for this moment. It was a discipline that gave comfort, even as it challenged.
Below them, a bell tolled midnight. The last voice faded and they fell silent. Waited, waited.
Gordon, their numerator, checked his notes. He looked up at the dark sky and then at the expectant faces of the group. He murmured softly, pragmatically, ‘There’s always next week.’