She is a ghost ship sailing the mud of the mountain.
She is a spectre parting the shrouding mists.
She is a shadow upon a midnight river, she is the eye of the storm.
In her hand, a heavy portmanteau. She drops it every few steps to catch her breath and pull her cloak closer about her face. Even her bonnet is black. She is searching for a dwelling that she is beginning to think might not be there after all.
I’m surrounded by cattails. They jog the memory of the egret, tall and reed-thin. Something not quite reight about those spindly legs, the curved beak tucked to its breast, the eyes like beads of volcanic glass.
I turn slightly, and it’s there: tall, dark egret shape, the head cocked in study of me. I jolt, flashes of thought (egret – Mumbler – run) slamming through me, but my feet are rooted, and I nearly fall.
She walked to a table beside the smeared window. It was heaped with yellow-paged books. Dust obscured the titles. With the tip of one finger she prodded through the pile. A few volumes lower down the stack still had clean covers. Treatises on gardening from two centuries back. Some leather-bound pads that looked like journals. Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and a General Historie of Plantes by Gerard.