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The Feather Palace

Rebecca Harrison | Terri Kelleher

High on the winds, a princess lived in a palace of feathers. She watched the world from her window in the skies. While the seas below were dark with rains, she skimmed bright cloud tops. She floated through blue dusks alongside bats and birds. In fast winds, the night cities were flurries of street lamps and chimney smoke. She walked the palace rooms with sunlight shimmering through the feather walls. While towns filled with music and crowds, she heard the world dimly through the winds.

One day, the palace sank low in snowy skies and caught on a lighthouse. The princess peered out her window and saw a frozen sea. Waves of ice clutched tall ships. Snow drifted among white sails. When night fell, she watched the ships in the lantern’s sweep. Songs of sea beasts and treasure wafted over the ice. She wished to walk close and listen to the tales she did not know, but she huddled at her window and plucked icicles from feather edges. A hard wind pulled the palace away into dawn skies. She saw the ships shrink as she soared high.

The palace floated in blue heights while cloud wisps clung to the towers. She tidied the corners and shadows and shook dust into sunset skies, while her thoughts lingered on the lighthouse in the snow. After storms, she gathered long feathers from the floors and patched holes in the walls.

One night, the palace caught on a turret reaching above a desert dune. She looked out at dim sands and saw windows between the dunes. Through the windows, she glimpsed rooms of jewels and candlelight. She watched people moving in silk and shadows. She wished to follow their steps into bright halls she couldn’t see, but she stayed in her room and picked sands from the feather floors. A desert wind whirled the palace up past starlit clouds. She sprinkled her handful of sand on the cloud tops.

The palace was blown along the bird paths of mountain skies. She sat at her window as towns drifted into forests and valleys. When the winds blew hard, she captured blossoms and paper scraps carried on the air. She let small feathers fall to the villages far below and thought of the frozen lighthouse and the palace in the sands.

One dawn, the palace caught on a weathercock. She looked down at the farmhouse rooftop. She peered at green meadows and plucked leaves from small gusts. She heard muffled voices in the farmhouse rooms and listened to words she didn’t know. When she saw the farmer’s son leading cows from the fields, she climbed the tower tops to watch him along far pathways. She wished to walk among the brambles and butterflies, but she leaned from the tower and tried to hear when he spoke the names of the cows. At dusk, she hid and listened to the footsteps and cow bells when he passed by.

At sunrise, she sat by her window and listened for the son’s voice beneath the birdsong. When she saw him step from the farmhouse, she wanted to call to him, but her voice felt small in her throat. So she dropped a feather from her doorway instead. He walked right by as it floated past him and caught in a cobweb. She climbed to the tower top and watched him lead the cows to cool streams. She wished to go and be with him alongside the bright waters, but instead she sat at her window and wondered how to walk on the ground.

All night, she lingered by her window and imagined stepping from the palace doorway. She listened to night breezes and thought of the whirls and heights of her life inside the winds. She felt far from the skies she had known. When dawn stirred the fields, she saw him walk from the farmhouse. She rushed through the hallway, opened the palace door and held her breath ready to step towards him. Suddenly, a fast wind pulled the palace from the weathercock and whisked it away. Looking down, he found a white feather by his feet.

About Rebecca Harrison

Rebecca Harrison sneezes like Donald Duck and can be summoned by a cake signal in the sky. Her best friend is a dog who can count. She was a finalist in the first Wyvern Lit flash fiction contest. Her fairy tale 'The Folded Canyon' was published in The Story Shack in October 2014. Her stories can also be read at Literary Orphans, The Harpoon Review, Gravel Magazine, Pigeonholes Magazine, Maudlin House, and elsewhere.

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