She hunches over the desk, her face hidden by the tattered hood, the room illuminated only by candles, wax dripping onto the ancient holders showing the years of service. The heavy drapes are worn, old, and slowly swaying from a disturbance caused by the fire under the cauldron. The color of the flames licking the iron bottom of the cracked pot fades casually from red, to orange, to green, to purple, with flashes of white sputtering occasionally from the tips. A cat, lounging on a velvet chair, feathers strewn about, stretches and sighs, his tail swings with the rhythm of the fire, his eyes reflects the firelight with an evil glow. The woman’s aged fingers creeps quietly to grasp a bone from the bird carcass splayed upon the desk, and when her hand found a bone, she clutches it, then slings it cavalierly over her shoulder into the sludge that bubbles in the iron pot. When the bone meets the putrid liquid, it sizzles and moans with heaving gasps until the bone is entirely consumed; then the fetid elixir slinks back into a steady simmer.
Blood red ink glimmers ominously in the well on the desk. The sound of labored breathing rancorously accompanies the tinkling clinks as the hooded woman lowers the shaft of the quill deeply into the inkwell. The crimson fluid quickly engorges her quill, overflowing the tip and its spine. She takes her time to coat the exterior of the quill with the excess. Gentle taps on the quill intitiate a trickling flow. She enjoys the odious sight of the sticky, now tainted, ink as it leisurely inches its way down the malevolent shaft and into the unprepared well, each drop brutally penetrating the murky ink. It hisses louder and louder as each drop enters and creates ever increasing radiating rings that collide roughly with one another. The sound of the whimpering ink ignites her as her breath comes in rasping pants, creating a screeching discord with the terrified hissing. She relishs watching the drops plunging into the unsuspecting ink, the helpless rings smashing together, all at her command and for her purely selfish pleasure.
She reminds herself that although she had been given a duty to execute but after waiting for so long for this moment, her monstrous delight would continue to consume her, until her much anticipated gratification was thoroughly quenched.
The cat yawned.
After she had her fill of this menacing amusement, she continued to scratch the now satiated quill against the parchment. The sound of her murmuring voice hung thickly in the air. Nonsequitors oozed from her cracked and craven lips, the harsh words and discordant language understandable only by the cat, who purred appreciatively.
She stacked page after page of parchment higher and higher on the desk, which was beginning to bend grotesquely from the weight. Her hands were becoming agitated as she was completing her mysterious task. Feeling her new fervor, the candles increased in intensity but not warmth, the fire under the iron cauldron became a steady white flame, the viscous swill swirled into a roiling mass and the stench emitting from its depths became palpable.
It was finished.
She calmly raised her bent and aged form from the odd perch over which she hovered, and stood, her arms slowly spreading wide. The cat, sensing the end, paced anxiously. The woman’s head remained bowed as she lowered her arms to her sides, when the drapes suddenly soared high in the air, as unseen hounds hurled unheralded and unsummoned into the now brightly lit and malodorous room. They encircled the woman, guided by a beastly sense of purpose. Her once handsome face contorted itself into a nefarious grimace, suggesting that perhaps she was attempting an obscene smile.
The wretched curs carried her aloft, her hoary feet never touching the ground. She effortlessly lifted the multitudinous pages that she had been writing from off her desk, which groaned its gratitude for the removal of the weight. Her smile transformed into a sneer. The cat skulked quickly to the bulky and massive doors, which swung open gloomily to allow her to pass. The candle’s wicks and cauldron fire reached their zenith as she approached the door. She lazily drifted out, the cat bounding in front of her. The doors swung heavily behind them, closing deliberately. The candles and fire in the stifling room sputtered out, the drapes ceased to swing and hung stagnantly, the velvet chair, still showing the imprint of the cat’s body, with the feathers left carelessly scattered about it.
One single, individual feather, white and shimmering in the dank and feckless room, left unnoticed and unfelt by the woman, the cat, and the mongrels, began to twitch, writhe, and breathe seemingly with a life all its own. The room slowly became bathed in a luminous warmth, uncontained, growing, until a dazzling, blinding light engulfed the decaying space. With fresh light and air, a new bird burst forth from the blaze which diminished all that the pallid woman, scraggy cat, and fiendish hounds had foolishly attempted to create in their own narcissistic image in that fetid room.
He flew, straight and strong, through the doors which opened for him displaying a renewed power and energy. The drapes were now light and pleasant, the desk gleaming and bright. He left behind a room transformed, ready to accept a new owner.
The futile and sterile efforts of the woman and her minions have already begun to fade into nothing and are forgotten, when the flight of the bird wearing his white crown ascends to his rightful place in the shining city on the hill. He is the renewal of freedom and liberty, raining down on the people of the hill.