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by lo ‘pixie’ artful

((for phaedra with thanks))

She found it… or perhaps it found her?… down on the piers.

Clearly it had been birthed by the sea…or dropped from the sky?…

A mechanical orb, encrusted with semiprecious stones and engraved with fascinating patterns… it may have been a crysalis, she fancied, or an egg… and, holding it up to her open ear, she heard or imagined a tiny, ticking sound, a clicking of clockwork parts….

She looked about, and thought its mechanical mother was nowhere to be found. So, she scooped it up in the folds of her lacey skirts, and carried it away to her family home…

“O, Mother! Look what I have found!”

“Child! You are always aflutter. Have you no grounding on this common earth? Get to your room immediately, and clean yourself!”

And so
she clattered up the stairs to her room, and gently laid the orb down on the windowsill in the sun, making a nest of her scarf first. She caressed the smooth sphere’s surface with caring hands, feeling its textures and retained warmth, and wondered what it contained…

In the morning, the sunlight glinted off its brass inlays, and she fancied she heard a peck-pecking from within… She rose, fuzzy-eyed and messy-haired, from her goosedown pillow, and hurried over…

Her sensitive ears heard the busy whirring of tiny gears, and the catching of minute latches muffled by the sphere’s casing. And then, before her astonished eyes, the shell cracked open along a neat seam! And clicking little jaws sprung open, mechanical peg teeth clamping in need as a… thing… crawled its unnatural way from its oily birth…

It was quite revolting… the fair hairs on her arms stood on end, and her fingers tensed around the hem of her nightgown, her toes curled in anticipation of flight as she backed away from the wicked, glinting object, wide eyed…

And yet, as she watched, the strange insectoid reshaped itself, pinions buzzing and tiny clasps chattering, while little wingnuts whirled it into its new form… ten legs becoming four, pointy teeth becoming a little bill, eight silver retinas hiding behind two marbleglass eyes… it was… well… a monotreme, such as she had read of in natural history books!

It clacked its bill and squeaked shrilly…

“What do you want?..” she queried, tremulously…

Suddenly, it sprouted wings, and danced a sugarplum dance… and she understood immediately! It devoured woodland creatures!

She hid beneath her pillow for an hour, checking now and again if it may have changed its mind… It sulked… then squawked and trembled… then lay on its back and twirled pathetically… ’til at last she saw no escape, and knew she would have to trudge barefoot to the woodland copse, barefoot, and sing the thin, keening songs her mother had taught her…

She hurried back… “Child! You are tracking soil all over my tidy floors!” …carrying a small iron cage she had purloined from beneath the stairs… In it fluttered two sad little specimins of hominid mosquito, it seemed to her, glowing faintly and clearly in distress…

She sighed, reached in and plucked first one, then the other, to feed to the insatiable device’s snapping jaws… The device thrummed and purred a little purr in greedy contentment.

“You know… you are going to have to go. I cannot care for you anymore.” The device looked up at her with beady eyes.

She fiddled with the window latch. The pane sprung open, and the tiny machine leapt away. It took flight, spinning away on eddying breezes…

A little of her flew away with it.



((lo pixie would like to thank everyone who has helped her to grow up in babbage and sends her love))

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  1. Phaedra Underby Phaedra Underby November 11, 2011

    Bravo, my dear girl, bravo. 

  2. Ceejay Writer Ceejay Writer November 11, 2011

    So charming, wistfully so.  Very lovely, my dear!  And it’s good to see you again.

  3. Blackberry Harvey Blackberry Harvey November 11, 2011

    ((Gil sends a big hug and a small nuzzle and a medium sized piece of pizza with a few bites taken out))

  4. Emerson Lighthouse Emerson Lighthouse November 12, 2011

    LoPixie, we’ve never met, but I really liked your story.

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