Cloud Mages

The visitors sweep into the yard like whorls of dust in the air, barely touching the ground. Fluffy and floating, all frills of grey cloth and dandelion-puff pompoms. Zae imagines them gliding through the sky like that, floating town to town like the dirigible that goes past every few months when the fields start to turn yellow.

One of them sweeps towards the tree at the centre of the garden. Looks up, almost at Zae.

Zae pushes aside one of the big round leaves, and peeks down. The tree sways a little, up here. She’s closer to the crystal-blue bowl of the sky than the red ground.

The visitor moves away. Says something to the other cloud-person with her hands.

Zae leans out for a closer look. The branch she’s sitting on squeaks, a little. It’s been doing that more and more lately. Even with Mum-with-a-T watering it every day, the big tree doesn’t make as many leaves as it used to.

She reaches her face out further, and down, sticking one leg off the other side of the branch. The tree creaks loudly. The other visitor looks up, and Zae sees straight into her bright orange eyes.

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