As mottled clothes covered their bodies, bleak expressions guided their face. They looked with a sadness that was unbeknown to the complexed girl, their eyes staring into blankness. She looked at what they held; a puppy, a teapot. These things were so loved by the girl, and yet something still saddened the people. The sky was blue, the trees were singing and yet they were still sad.

"Cheer up," the girl said, but no smile crept onto a face. She was saddened by this, their unmoving gazes no brighter than they had been before. "Please." A more desperate tone played into her voice, a longing to see them smile. "Could I have some tea?" She hoped to make them play, to make their voices lift with laughter. And suddenly a cup was passed to her hand. "Thank you," A big smile accepted the cup, and there, almost seen to girl, a hint of an upturned mouth, that was only to be imagined.

It had been a small girl who had given her the cup, and slowly she got up and left, her hair bouncing behind her. She laughed at the sight. "Oh I hope my hair isn't like that." She realised what she had said, and gazed around to apologise, but the girl was gone.

"Where did she go?" No reply was given.

A sound, a beautiful sound of melodies came to her ears. The song so beautiful the birds welcomed it to their hearts. "Oh I so wish to dance." Looking around she found another girl, beckoning her, arms wide. She took them, and together they spun, long dresses twirling to the music. Her hair flew free from its braid, her voice roaring high to mix laughter with song. But then, the music stopped, the girl's hands disappeared. Her body filled with glee, she looked at the other girl, waiting for something to be said. A blank expression greeted her, then a quick turn and she moved out of sight.

"Wait, don't go!" But she had disappeared. She eyes the people still around her, their gazes bleak, all expression gone. "Let me hold him." She took the puppy from the man's arms, hoping, wishing to get a response. The man turned and left, the puppy slipping from her grip to follow.

Two boys suddenly pushed past her. "Hey! Can I play?" She ran to join them, her feet flying high as she raced to catch up. They stopped at a tree, a big oak that grew high to the clouds. The boys held out their hands, and she took them, pushing herself further upwards. They followed, their nimble arms pulled them further. She shuddered at the height she was, but she continued, moving swiftly over the rigid trunks. The boys feet were above, their soles showing their travels.

"Wait!" But they were already gone, and the girl knew they would return. Up in the tree, amongst the soft leaves, she cried. Her body shaking, her eyes watering. But when she went to rub her eyes, no water touched her hand, nothing.

She climbed down, still seeing people standing there. She went to one softly, taking them by the hand. "Please speak to me." The woman turned and left.

"Please," she went to the next, grasping his hand tight. But he slipped away.

To all she went up, to all they left. She was alone.


Feet played to her ear. She turned and saw them all returning, faces still sad.


The people stopped around her, looking to the wall. The girl looked to. Together they all starred into the gilded mirror. One by one they left, disappearing out of the side. Until only one person remained, the girl, and no reflection.