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( May. 27th, 2005 01:15 am)
Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She lived between the tree that held the blue-faced bird, the one which had pecked out her friend's eyes for being distrespectful, and the inexplicable pile of railway sleepers. She wore the skins of many of her friends, because they did keep dying, and she didn't know what else she could take. There was no railway, and there had not been one in living memory.

It was a warm, dewy morning when she awoke to find a door. It stood at the edge of the clearing, blocking the entrance to one of several goat-trails leaving the place between the tree and the sleepers. She slipped through the trees and walked around to the other side of it. The frame was wooden, and the door was wooden; they were varnished, and the handle of the door was also wooden and painted black. It was a doorknob, one of the round ones that is kind of hard to grip.

She walked around the door twice, to make sure it was definitely there, and then she opened it. It opened out into the trail, and on the other side there was grassland, and hills, and the sun was brighter and the sky was bluer. But she was not a silly girl, so she cut stakes from the nearby trees and threw one through the door. When it landed unharmed on the other side, she began to plant the stakes in the ground in front of the door, pinning it open. The stakes went easily into the springy, moss-backed grass beyond the door.

Then she padded, bare-foot, out into the land beyond the door; but despite her precautions, when she turned around, the door was gone.

In the place between the sleepers and the tree that belonged to the blue-faced bird, a rat chittered softly, a quiet mourning.
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Michelle Taylor

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