“...rare blue phoenix- caution, do not approach!” Clara reads from memory, cringing mid breath as the sign clangs somewhere down below, eliciting a thick shuffle from the cage.
Clara turns up her face to the slight breeze drowning out the candlelight behind her, the wax maidens blinking out in their coves, squelching their autumnal fires one by flickering one.
Slowly, considerate of the need to keep her face intact against all odds, Clara looks then up to the bird in the cage, the blue lady, the feathered festive feral fenix, the patchwork peacock dressed in bright water, and cranes her neck to gloat.
“Is that you in there? Well, it’s been a long time comin’, this! Don’t think I’m gonna let you off easy once you’re out of there! But first, I need to find a...”
Clara’s eyes scrunch. Her mouth makes a dainty ‘o’. She withdraws her pen again, picking apart the pieces, ink holder, tip, little pointy thing that grabs onto your shirt. She holds them out for a bit of flame, timing it so the sleeping blue majestic bird obliges unwittingly, transforming the unhinged pen into a dripping piedy poker.
Clara nods her head, moves to stand at the edge of the hole, and sticks her hand out with the poker in, hoping to catch the latch on the blue bird’s cage.
She reaches, careful now, one foot levered on a pile of books long stuck to the floor with dust and wax, the other balancing on the edge. Her fingers stretch out, the pen-poker poised between her pale knuckles, peeking from her fingertips out toward the languishing latch.