Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Chapter 10 - Alebrije


It was raining outside. Kima could see the fat drops bursting on the window from her chair in the kitchen. She didn't know for how long she had been sitting there, looking out. She still felt dizzy, and the sound had faded down to a buzzing in her ears. The fields were empty, now that the mules and the horses where resting in their pens. She sat on the kitchen’s chair.

‘Orphans don’t survive long here.’ Konu, the smallest son of Shebeh had told her the day before, pursing his small mouth, trying to look serious. She wondered if that were true. The words ran in circles in her mind, but they were just words, drifting just out of reach.

Outside the clouds where long and heavy, a fibrous Kapok tree the only visible contrast under the moonlit sky. The moon was a big glowing orb on its way to hide under the mountains. She pressed her fingertips against the window, following the path the rain made as it streaked down. It was getting darker but she didn’t light a candle.

Once all colour went out of the world, the alebrije came to the window: Skinny red legs, body of a butterfly, dragon wings, chicken feet, and the face something between a horse and a snake. Of course its wings were green, with red dots, its body blue and yellow, a shower of colour expanding out from its silver middle. It was about the size of her hand. She opened the window enough to let it through. It stood on the kitchen table and splashed her as it shook the rain off.

‘Where do you come from?’ she asked. The alebrije peered at her from the tiny specks of black that were its eyes.

‘An egg.’ It shifted its weight to one foot and flapped its wings.

Kima got the impression that it wouldn’t be extremely talkative, but it felt nice to be distracted. She watched it as it made itself comfortable, lying on its belly and letting its wings flop loosely at its sides. Kima thought it was smiling. She looked beyond, the grass outside was a grainy grey and the Kapok’s leaves were pausing, waiting for some resolution. She looked back. The alebrije still stared at her.

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