art by Wi Waffles
Tell Them of the Sky
by A. T. Greenblatt
She is too small, Kitkun thinks, the first time she enters his tiny workshop tucked between the market's stalls. Too young to have left the nest alone. Yet, despite the years of waiting, he still feels a prick of hope as she steps out of the city's unrelenting smog and over the threshold, thinking, perhaps she will be the one. Perhaps she will ask.
"Are you lost, child?" asks Kitkun, setting down his tools. She is dressed in cream colored silk--a foolish color to wear in this city--but her shoes are covered in grime.
She nods. "I thought I saw a raven," she says.
"And did you?"
Her face crumples with disappointment. "Nanny couldn't keep up. She doesn't believe birds exist."
Kitkun smiles. Customers do not randomly wander into his shop. "Well, I do," he says, pointing at the display next to her, "See?"
The tiny table is filled with a flock of toys and from it, she picks up a sparrow made of wood and cloth. In her hands, the bird lifts its head, chirping happily, stretching its neck up towards the canopy ceiling in anticipation. But instead of releasing it, the girl frowns at the bird for a moment and places it back on its perch.
Kitkun raises his eyebrows. The sparrow's little tricks often delight customers. But then again, most of his customers do not wear the finest silk. No, she will not ask, he thinks. Kitkun ignores the ache of disappointment as he returns to the eagle he is crafting, watching her as he carves.
One by one, she examines each toy and kite in his shop; picking them up, bringing them to life, setting them down moments later. She lingers only at the doll which she studies with fascination. At her touch, it smiles, stretching out its lacy wings, turning its tiny face upwards and with a few strong beats, it lifts itself out of the girl's hands into the air above her head. Only then does her frown disappear.
"Can you make other things fly?" she asks, balancing on her toes like a dancer, catching the doll in her outstretched arms.