by Philip Meeks
A war had ravaged the city where Little Tear danced for strangers.
In her gilt cage at night she’d hear the sounds of sirens, crumbling stone and worse. Feel the shudder and cracking of timbers beneath the shelf where she was stored. The fall of dust like kisses from the dead followed by a silence so deep and terrifying you could almost hear it.
Some nights, after raid time, Little Tear would hear one of her many sisters sob. Squilly with the sewn on beak perhaps. Zarilla with the purple plumes. Or Moya, the one with the missing arm. Little Tear’s three special favourites. The most damaged. Tucked away in their own cages elsewhere on the shelf they’d shed their sorrows whilst shivering from their fears and there was nothing Little Tear could do to comfort them but call out a soothing word or few, or coo. But mostly she chose not to. And she never cried. Not even when buildings nearby succumbed to the sky bird’s heinous deliveries.
Instead she chose to clasp her eyes and concentrated on her thinkings. Those that would lull her to a shallow slumber. The ones she only ever dared remember when she was betwixt the world of awake and not.