An old woman stood in an old meadow surrounded by old hills. In that past, however, the hills and meadows were young. The old woman was a young girl. Her dress was even younger: a dress that her dear departed mother had passed down from a time when even old mothers were young.

“Zoocern, Zoocern.”

A voice suddenly whispered from behind her, its arms wrapping around her waist and its head lowering to kiss her nape.

She knew it was the sweetheart of her dreams, the boy next door: a meeting pre-arranged, so she sunk back into its embrace.

“Zoocern, Zoocern, I shall tell thee tales of chalk giants, inky ghosts, menageries, collisions … and devourings.”

By now Susan was deaf to its advances, engulfed by its sweet nothings.


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