‘OK, so we’re all agreed then?’

Frowns of rejection, the shaking heads of discord.

‘Fine, fine. We don’t agree at all. But I’m the one with the voice here, so I’m in charge. I think he needs to go.’

I motion to the vaguest, least defined of us.

‘Well? Nothing to say, fellas?’

The one that looks just like me looks angry. It seems to be mouthing awful things to me, but I can’t read lips. Maybe he’s telling me how dapper I look in green. Well he could be!

My vague friend looks about as displeased as an amorphous black blob can. He shudders a little, and seems to motion across his neck. Well, the place where a neck might be.

I reach down to my feet, and begin to tear at the seams that bind us. This way, his death will not cause my own; I’ve researched this well. One stitch, two; my vague friend is shaking in rage and agony, scrabbling its ill-defined paws at my hands, but never able to touch them. The fate of the two-dimensional, my flat fellow.

A third stitch comes loose; I can feel his gloomy, heavy presence leaving me; finally! What’s this, though? A mumbling from somewhere stage-left; ah, a member of our sleeping audience is stirring. I’ll relax my attack on my old friend, and hover a little closer to the window; little darlings left it open for me, how nice of them. I always need a mirror if I want to talk to the one who looks like me. But I wouldn’t carry a hand mirror, no, those are for grown-ups, and anyway, I don’t want him with me all the time! So I have to make do with when I can borrow some unsuspecting sleeper’s mirror.

It’s the girl who is stirring. Her brothers, in the other bed, are sound and motionless. I watch stock still, my shadow woozily participating in its candlelight dance, as she rolls over, and returns to slumber.

I sigh a melodramatic sigh of relief; the one who looks like me does not look impressed. The vaguely-defined one wavers on the floor, anchored to my feet still. I prepare to pull at the next stitch that ties him to me, but there is a loud thump!

From where, though? The little darlings are still asleep, and my compatriots are bound to silence in this place. My vague friend looks as confused as I, blurring at the edges as it glances left and right. I look to the one who looks just like me, and there is another loud thump! as he pounds his little fist against the mirror once again.

Now this is unprecedented! He’s never made a sound before. His solemn, grumpy wisdom has always been entirely silent; his council given mostly with eyebrow movements. With my attention thoroughly obtained, he looks to me again. His wide eyes beseech me to reconsider.

Why though!? My vague friend has never done anything but weigh me down, and betray me to the candlelight! I cannot fly properly with this creature a part of me, tethered to the ground!

The one who looks very much like me looks so sad. So concerned. He is a wise thing; this I have learned only too well. What does he know that I do not?

Another stirring from behind me; the girl is moving again. She’s waking!

Fine. Perhaps I can give my vague friend another chance. I’ll leap from the window, to return to my home. That darling girl will wake; but find only an open window, and the candlelight.


Illustration by Merle Made Tales

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