“How many are you going to make, Flamina?” Susan says softly, not looking up from the blue round rug her little elbow is propped on.
The older woman with long white hair flickers white all over, her silks resounding in cloudy hues as she sweeps her hair and silks from her knees, then plops another folded paper neatly on the blue rug.
“How many birds are there now, Susan?” Flamina asks, smoothing her white silks as she gazes at the Flesh of Susan, allowing even the flaps of her eyelids to lose their color and revert to the white white blankness of the Flesh.
The little dough face of the Flesh child stares up at her, pouty-lipped and wide-eyed in the light of the countless candles dimly showering the room.
“Nine hundred and ninety five,” Susan answers with her usual pained quietude, “that means we only need six more to do it.”
Flamina nods, and returns her fingers to a crease on the paper in her hands.
“Soon,” she says, gazing down at the half-square of paper in her hand, “soon we will have a thousand paper cranes. For he is coming up the stairs.”