Chapter Twenty-Five, Part One: The Cockle Shell BrigadeMature

Soft bird’s claws lift him up; somewhere high above, the call for his attendants resounds again. 

“…ther Roda!”


“…collapsed just as we…” 

The claws are gentle, gray blobs dressed in monk’s hoods. They swerve around him, curling on his folds, addressing themselves to the needs of his body.  Fitting themselves to him. 

Are they wrapping him in colored ribbons? It feels like a shroud. Is it meant to keep the birds away? No, no, the birds are here, taking care of him. What is it meant to keep away then? Oh wait, he can almost… 

Himself. That’s always the answer. So simple! A tear leaks from his eye. Why is it cold, when the rest of him is so very very warm and uncomfortable? He manages a sigh, from far away. Those simple sutras binding his arms and legs to his abdomen won’t hold the elephant in anymore…

 Once, that would have felt distasteful. Now, the shreds of fabric they join around him in their bird-y claws feel like a welcome blanket of sleep. He knows this is wrong, but… that part of him that cares is far away, trapped in a box. With another box. Inside another box. 

Still… his sense squirms just out of reach, growing along his lines, thickening his reactions like a broth of stewed donkey meat, 15 years gone and still brewing.  He is being wrapped for a roasting. Must be; he feels rather hot. 

He imagines he’s now got a winged toaster for a head, with the words, ‘Curly F. Brace’ scrawled on the side in bloodlike, rusty rents. He should stop playing so many flash games.

The End

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