• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 04
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The Bird Lady In The Mauve Cape

The bird lady in the mauve cape and crimson lipstick flies across the snow, her green claw-boots melting into clouds of snowdrifts. She has been walking for days, years, months: who knows? When she pauses to rest, she becomes a mauve sun, her wide-brimmed hat an orbit inhabited by multiple crazy invisible dancing planets. She has named a few, the rest she is still dreaming up names for.

She carries a garden of fresh-flowers inside her cape for it is the tombs of mountains to which she journeys. She wonders if those sleeping inside them are truly locked in eternal slumber – or simply frozen? She peeks inside her cape: a flash of iris blue, the dizzying scent of a rose escapes to irrigate the parched air. She hopes that the promise of spring will wake up those slumbering: after all, spring can coax even the most skeletal of trees into embracing life again, their branches budding balloons of blooms.

She glimpses the night midwifing the morning into existence: the birds twitter from unseen countries, the sky striped in rose and lemon and vanilla. How long has the night been, she thinks, walking on an endless carpet of dead snow-flakes, hearing them mourn their mayfly lives. If only we could have lived longer, they wept, their icicle tears clotting the air. She wished that she could have stayed with them long enough to erase their pain, promising them of reincarnations to come: of being rain, a jade sea or a tumbling brook. But alas she has to leave for she has other promises to keep, other dead to heal.


The Bird Lady In The Mauve Cape

The mountains glow mint and pine and white in the dawn sunlight. Contemplating her solitary journey, she wonders about the loneliness they have endured for millions of years. The sun, the stars, the snow, the occasional foolhardy of a human, they come and go, the mountains ultimately left alone. And so they mull over their ascetic, rooted lives, much like those of the trees that occasionally burst forth from their hostile skin.

But there are no trees to encounter today: just the ruins of a very, very old world. She walks and pauses: her feet no longer seem to belong to her and she fancies that she is skating over numbed air. But walk she must. The abundant, newborn sunlight spills onto her hat, cape, skirt: from the distance, she must appear like a fluttering flag of hope.

She thinks of the flowers she will lay inside the tombs, alongside the gold and cups and books and letters, all there to console the dead in their alternate lives. Will they wake up? They must.

She hears a song inside her head: she whistles it – and the mountains echo the tune in response, starved as they have been of conversation for so long. And somewhere, in the heart of a mountain, she feels someone awakening, wondering who has planted music into their barren world of eternal silence.