Philip had heard enough. “My nephew is not going to carry out your unrealistic prophecy Mirandah!”
   “Sit Philip, please” Mirandah begged, her beautiful lips distracting for a moment, “the great spirits have come forth, to tell us a story of a young seer. You heard the story Philip. It says he comes from a land built over the water! It is your nephew!”
   “You seem to forget Mirandah,” Philip almost laughed, “he is not here! He-”
   “Is coming Philip.”
   Philip started to retort when a loud knocking came at the door
“Father!” the voice called, barely audible through the thick doors, “father please! It’s urgent!”
   “Hide in the wardrobe Mirandah, they must not see you here” Philip cautioned, gesturing towards the tall oak wardrobe on the far wall. He watched her climb in, and wished in spite of himself that he could hold her beautiful body close. She had to lay down because it was full of coats, but she looked content enough as he closed the door with a click.
   “Father!” the boy called, “it’s the swamp!” the boy fell into the room as Philip opened the door.
   “What happened?” Philip asked, “A large flood?” he offered.
   “No a fire!”
   “It is the middle of the wet season!” he proclaimed counting on his fingers, “it will not be dry enough for a fire for at least…six months!”
   “All I know is the good lord spared one boy, and he's on his way here!”
   “Who?” Philip started
   “I don’t know sir…he will arrive at noon on Tuesday.”
   “3 days…” Philip mumbled, “are you sure there is only one survivor?”
   “Yes father.” The boy lowered his head, “I'm truly sorry for your losses!”
   “Anything else?”
   “Well he brings with him the name ‘devils child’ but I'm the only one who knows, and I shouldn’t tell anyone father”
   “Good, good.” Philip stopped him from running out the door, “how old is this boy?”
   “Well the guy who told me says he's no more than five” the boy turned away again, “goodnight father”
   “Goodnight, and thank you” Philip said as the boy left the priest standing alone, looking lost in his own world. He closed the door, locking it again and collapsed on the comfy couch.
   *                       *                       *
Jillian was carving a large table when he first saw the boy. He knew at once that he was a devils child; the flared pants and V-neck were unique to their clan. The only difference was the boy’s clothing was black, not the stark white they normally wore. He could tell it was a boy only because there was no large collar, and the tops flared at the shoulders not the elbows. Jillian continued to carve the great table, pretending not to notice. But he did. He noticed the child’s drunken appearance, the way he stumbled and seemed to walk in zigzags. Jillian stopped working the wood as he noticed a large stag emerge from the forest. Its head was down as he approached the boy, like he was preparing to ram him. Jillian ran for his gun, he would be saving a devils child, but it would be a sin not to obtain that stags hide, its meat. His clan would understand when they returned from their meeting.
   When he finally did emerge, he dropped the gun immediately and screamed “MASON!” He was rooted to the spot and unable to avert his eyes from such a sight. The stag was at least twice the height of the boy, and looked younger now that it was much closer. The boy was being half carried half dragged by the stag’s antlers. “MASON!”
   “What the ‘ell is it boy?! Can't a cranky old bitch get some sleep at this ‘our?”
   Relieved Mason had arrived, he pointed “look!” he turned to face her, having to look down at her because of her dwarfish height. She looked at his face and laughed at the twisted horror it revealed.
   “I guess me tarot was wrong!” she proclaimed, “the bastard cards told me ‘e’d be comin’ by ‘orse!” she walked towards the stag, easily twice her height too. The stag stood still, as did Jillian, and as she reached up to grab the child from his antlers, the stag bent down as if helping her. She laid the boy on the grass and placed her hand on the stags forehead closing her eyes. Jillian watched in amazement as the stag closed its eyes too. The two stood together with their eyes closed for what seemed like forever, and then the stag sprinted away with lightning speed, the shock causing Jillian to fall over. “come on! ‘es ‘eavy!” she gestured waiting, “JILLIAN! Stop bein’ a lump boy! Move your ass!” Jillian was either prompted by her use of profanity or her yelling, either way he ambled up to the little woman grudgingly, and helped her carry him to her hut. “wait ‘ere” she ordered, stomping off into the hut. She called out “I was talkin’ to it.”
   “To wha..”
   “The stag boy! Aint that what you’re thinkin’?” the poked her head out through the curtains, her front door.
   “No..” he said, and she reached out to put her hand on his forehead. He backed away frightened.
   “Don’t be ‘fraid’ boy!” she scolded, “come ‘ere you big lump!” she forced her hand on his forehead and his eyes widened. His mind was filled with thoughts, voices almost. He closed his eyes suddenly and the voices stopped. Mason’s voice was there, and it said “I call you boy because you are not yet a man”. Jillian’s eyes popped open in shock. That was Mason’s voice, but it was not her style. She had read his mind and insulted him! Not a man! Recovering, he spat on the ground, dropped the boy, and left. “Well that took some balls now didn’t it boy?” she called after him.
   *                       *                       *
Mirandah was starting to feel faint. The wardrobe couldn’t be opened from the inside, as she had discovered, and there wasn’t much air left. There mustn’t have been much space for air with all the coats. Her rat was chewing a hole in the bottom, trying to escape and give her a breathing hole. “Philip!” she wheezed, “Philip!” she had no idea of how long she had been there, but she guessed the priest had either gone home or fallen asleep like her. Her rat squeezed out and she whispered “go little one. Live on” she heard Philip groan before everything went black.
   “Mirandah!” a voice called. Was it god? No, it couldn’t be, for there is no god, but the voice persisted, “Mirandah!” Maybe it was one of the great spirits, “Mirandah!” why were they calling her? Was she dead? “I'm so sorry” sorry? What on earth for? The great spirits had guided her through her egg orb for as long as “I'm sorry” she could remember! Was she really dead? She opened her eyes just to check.
   “Philip?” she croaked, “what's wrong?” she noticed she was in his arms on the floor, and he was leaning against the wardrobe.
   “Oh Mirandah!” Philip cried, holding her tighter, “you have no idea what I've lost, and what you mean to me!” he kissed her forehead, and helped her up onto his chair. He handed her a cup of water, and helped her drink it.
   “Thank you” she said after gulping several cups of water, emptying the water pot. “You really should employ wooden water pot’s...they are much lighter for your water carriers.” She mused
   “The clay one is just fine” Philip said, “are you okay? I'm so sorry!”
   “I am okay. Where’s my rat?”
   “I don't know, but please don't forget him when you go.”
   “I will not Philip” she put a hand on his cheek, “but I must go now”
   “No! Please stay! You heard the news! My home was destroyed…” he cried
   “Home, dear Philip, is where you make it” she removed her hand from his face, and he grabbed it, “and you made yours with bluestone and a rather large bell”
   Philip laughed softly, “but a boy is coming here”
   “Yes I know, it is your nephew”
   “No it’s not!” Philip grumbled
   “You heard the prophecy.” Mirandah said calmly, “it said fire would destroy his roots”
   “You’re right,” he said, realization coming across his face
   “Yes.” She got up to leave, releasing her hand and walked towards the door. Before she got there, the priest had her hand again.
   “Please don’t go,” he whispered. She turned towards the priest to say goodbye but couldn’t. He looked so small and scared in his own world. He looked like the boots were too big and they kept falling off.
   “No, Mirandah please. I have not built a home, I have built a church!”
   “But this is your home”
   “But it’s not suitable for a boy! Imagine the restrictions!”
   “It is part of his story! Philip please try to understand!” she pleaded, whispering, “I cannot mess with fate!”
   “And what of my story?”
   “What ab…”
   “I want you to be in it” he gushed. For a long time the two stared at each other, unmoving.
   “I am in it Philip” she said, and with that she left.