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Marionettes

By @Val

It was a white sheet that fell through the dark sky, floating. Catching air like a bird in glide. There were no stars. Only dark clouds foretelling the storm to come. A half moon, grey in the blanketed sky, cast dull light towards the drifting cloth as it touched ground. Soundlessly, like a mound of snow the fabric settled upon green grass, grey in the night.

The air was heavy. It gathered, thick with sea fog, lifting the sheet. The cloth moved limply, slowed by the unsuspected warmth of summer’s heat rolling over into autumn. Ripples in the fabric began to build, becoming full with the damp night. So breathed the sheet, expanding with air before folding. Again, it grew and shrunk. Again.

Faster. The sheet danced.

Across the grass, the shock of white moved carelessly. Twisting, taking form. It was a woman, pale and shapely. She moved, timidly at first, stepping to the drift of damp autumn air. Each gust of fog filled her lungs, pushing cotton limbs as they swayed in the muted moonlight. The wind picked up. The sea fog shifted. She danced a final step and crumpled once more to a lump of cloth.

Again.

The cloth grew and shrunk. Became alive with the motions. A night bird sang in distant trees. Its lone song, a forlorn melody, played as a fish became of the fabric. It swam in the dense air, leaping from gust to gust. Cloth fins pushed through the sky. A slimy body, pale white, flicked its tail and collapsed. The fabric broke, corners flying out like a splash of ivory paint. The fish was gone into the earth and left in its place a sheet, dry and shapeless.

Again.

The breeze took it away, spreading the woven threads taut in the night. A wall of snow, melting into the snarl of a mountain cat. She crept forward, leaping to a prey not visible. Not real. Only wind and air, and the sea fog that scattered to make way. For the pounce of a sheet, the shape of a mountain lion. Not a danger. Not real. But a show of the marionettist talent. Cloth paws crashed to the grass, and lax went the strings.

Again.

The lady came. She turned, a fish now, and swam higher with the breeze. The mist carried, shifting to the lion’s form. Slinking through the fog, falling as droplets weighed her down. Rain fell. Heavy. Soaking the lion until she was no more. Only cloth, saturated with what the clouds now returned to the earth.

No more marionettes.

No more magic.

After all, it was only a white sheet that fell through the dark sky, floating.

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