The day the border was crossed he drank sweet coffee. He had been waiting to hear a cuckoo. His father railed “Let them in!” and waved his handkerchief. The fields were yellow with rape. Vasily had his toys all over the carpet. His mother made soup. Later he would meet friends at the corner bar but make sure he returned home before dusk. The main roads were all busy with heavily laden cars and trucks. They were all headed in one direction. How quick things move, he thought. And how predictable this unpredictability. Oh she danced so well last night.
The bear wandered far and wide until it came to the hut of an old woman, which was raised off the ground by a single chicken claw. The old woman hit the bear about its head then bade it sleep. The next day an eagle descended and the bear tore it apart. The old woman told the bear to bring her the water of death and the water of life. With the water of death she brought the eagle’s body back together and with the water of life she made it breathe again. There is no moral in this story.
Nothing was unusual about that morning. The willows swayed in a slight breeze. Freddie the cat licked his paws; the man in the suit ran for his train; and no one saw the flash in the sky. A haze descended over the town and then cleared. Then people began to notice. A fine dust had settled across the roofs, the park, the roads. Mrs Follett held a hanky to her face. Mothers screamed at children not to touch anything. Joan said it was an Act of God. Someone whispered it was stardust. At my feet, the crumbling sky was dirt.
If she was not amazingly pretty, but pretty, still, and if people always said it. As a kid maybe not, but later, and then oh when people said it lots. But it is what people thought and there she stood and just did not know what to do when people said it. It was not like rebellion, or maybe, but there were other things and bigger challenges. She did not even want to think of her looks. Her looks, it is what they said. And now, locked in prison, her face in newspapers, the pretty one, they said it too.