The flocks of underground herons, gliding under the ground.
She lifted her head so softly; even the wind didn't hear anything. Her huge eyes, which were the colour of the full moon, looked at the threads of thought lazily floating in the air above the dry cracked earth. Her nose smelled the autumn, and her ears caught the movement under the earth.
Her soft grey silk slid from her neck and settled on her shoulders with a swish. Her long straight hair the colour of ebony shadowed the sides of her face and settled silently on her breasts.
Half-closing her eyes, she breathed in and spread out her arms. Her feet lifted off the ground, and slowly and silently, she glided above the earth, giving quick thoughts to the streams of air. Her face with thin features was pale white, under the light of tired sun filtered by grey clouds high up above in the sky.
The wind will bring her wherever she wishes. Upon the broken world, where shards of dark glass glittered on the ground and creatures, hard as stones, wandered from one empty place to another, she floated, saying nothing, but sending thoughts out, like birds. She had a goal. She had a desire. She had something on her mind she needed to do, something that the wind would help her to do, something that must have been done long ago, because this world had no hope anymore. It was dying.
She had to let the birds out.
She had to set them free, so they could fly far, far away from here.
The world was dead. The grass was frozen and winked at her with frost. The stone creatures fell on the ground, among the shards of glass and moved nevermore.
It was the fear that drove her. It was the fear the wind gave her through its streams, the fear that what she desired was gone.
She floated faster; the position of her white slender body, covered with grey silk changed, inclining, horizontally. Her white wings broke loose and spread upon her, striking the air according to her wish to fly faster, and so she did. Like a giant bird, she looked from above, flying swiftly upon the dry valleys that long time ago were green and riverbeds that long ago had clean water in them, and cities that long ago were shining with white stone, and graves of people that long ago lived.
She had to be in time.
Guided with the movement she had heard under the ground, she flew closer and closer to the ocean with dirty green water, and empty beaches along the banks. Her heart was racing, for the moment was close. Now, in a second, the birds would break away from the ground, and fly, fly higher than she, away from here.
So close to the precipice above the water, the underground movement stopped.
Gasping for air, she stopped too. Nothing moved. In despair, she shouted, threw her hands out and the earth erupted and separated, baring the terrible vision to her eyes.
The flock of underground herons was unmoving, not breathing. Not a single bird moved. In shock, with tears in her eyes, she reached out with her mind, and listened to the thoughts of dying birds, for thoughts don't die for a long time after the creature stops breathing.
We tried, but the world caught us. We tried to live, tried to fly away, but the black heart of this land did not let us. We are so close. This… this is the cemetery of the underground herons, for there are thousands of us here, so close, yet so far. Forgive us. But now, the hope is dead. We are the dead. The dead underground herons.
Tears boiled in her eyes, and in anger, she stretched the arms out again, and the earth erupted and split far, to the very horizon, and her heart froze, for under the earth there were thousands of dead birds. Far to the very point where the earth and the sky met, their bodies stretched and thoughts floated in the air: We are the dead, we are dead.
The heart of the world, the underground herons, died in escaping, so hopelessly trying to glide away.
In exhaustion, she slowly settled on the ground. Lifeless wind touched her cheeks and hair, and silk, but she didn't feel it.