• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 07

The Gift

The air is made of onions here. The red from the rainbow cuts my retinas as if it were the Warden’s razor. A sickly smell swims around me, like too much life fighting and climbing the wetness in the wind. The arms of trees kick out and the animals screech in defiance. There are no frayed books blocking fuzzy glows. There are no smooth cold floors for lying still. Tough bristles at my side, I taste the iron must of Mama’s reddening cloak and pull it against the hot pigments.

Mama says I am not to be afraid. She says we were burrowed mice, not used to the paintings of birds and kisses from Heaven. Eyes sealed, she inhales like an angel dreaming of diving or flying. I close my eyes just a little and live there for a long moment, between nothing and everything.

Mama tells me light and music will save us now. She pats the thing she calls ‘accordion’ and says we must thank him for the gift. I wonder if she means God or the Warden and I dare to ask ‘didn’t you say I was your only gift from the Warden?’