She did not remember exactly when it was clear to her.  Laz was only a tiny bit of an owl with some of his soft egg feathers clinging to his underside.  The two of them listened to the terrible annunciations huddled, nest-like in a dark corner.  She could not connect “Mother” to the ranting other-worldly creature insinuating itself closer and closer upon them.

That was not her first memory, only the one she could bring to mind now-now that she had seen her at the end of the grinding tunnel. Something about her was different, but those eyes-the eyes were the same-dark holes of dangerous, blank, unending nothingness.   She saw herself, a tiny child, shrinking from those blank orbs, pinned in the corner and remembered long spindly growths like hands flashing before her like a nightmare. She thought she might scream!

Thoughts and images of things past came rushing at her, tumbling at her mind, grinding into her head. Laz was all she knew then-hatched from an egg, he said. Was she also hatched? Hatched meant you had quills and feathers. She had seen her arms and legs, featherless and smooth. Had this Apparition she remembered as “Mother” borne her in some ghastly bent, dead tree in a forest not tied to this world?  

The one image she tried to bury came bursting forth. Grinding, grinding…One long spindly milk-white, terribly elongated finger-pointing at her…One word…grinding in her head…




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