Written and illustrated by Honoria Tox
The moon flickers like a gaslight behind the torn, torrid clouds as I watch out the upper window, straining my ears for the sound of horse-hooves. The earth falls away from my home and down to the river, only one thin horse-trail separating its wildness from mine; and the darkness courses above us.
I sigh at the silence, leaving the window to move about the room: first to the stack of thick azure paper that sits on my work-bench. I cut the paper into cottony slices with my knife in strong, swooping gestures, like a factory-woman tossing the shuttle-cock back and forth across a loom. I fold the paper with quick, skilled strokes, my dainty fingers darting them into points and curves. Then I fit them with their mechanisms, small gears and springs thrust into their wings, and set them free: a hundred tiny blue-birds, my automata, winding their way through the air and into the night, flapping all their pretty wings against the moonlight as they go.