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Lady of The Phoenix

Copyright 2011 Douglas T. Vale

Cover image courtesy of Mlane /

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Silver-haired and hunchbacked, the old lady stared through the window with her chin settled in her hand. Out in the yard, a flock of quail and some goldfinches fed at and under a birdbeeder hung from an ancient clothes line. The goldfinches perched on the feeder, sometimes hanging upside down to peck at the seeds within. Below, the quail plodded through the dirt, pecking at the brown surface for a few seconds, then kicking back with their feet and raising their heads to glance around. She wished them the greatest safety.

A gray tabby cat slinked along the fence. She gasped and struggled to her feet. Then she hobbled towards the door to the back yard. With each step the excruciating pain in her back and thighs and skull subsided, and she grew taller and stronger and younger. Her skin grew tight and warm and youthful again. She stopped to grab a broom.

The bird feeder towered gargantuan, and beautiful peacocks perched on it in the midst of a big grassy field. Along the edges stalked a gray lion, thick-maned and bright-eyed, barely visible among the grass. She watched his undulating shoulders part the grass blades while the peacocks fed unaware. One bird among the many caught her eye. A great, bright, fiery bird that seemed the life of life itself, vibrant, strong, healthy, full. And she knew that the lion had his eyes on this special bird.

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