The world was naked except for the appearance of a sudden shock of cloth, flown in from the direction she was walking––toward tomorrow, we assumed. She had batons as for marching or magic, and a circular wreath. She was ending and beginning. Four figures around her kept watch: lion, bull, angel, eagle.
“Hello, everyone!” we said to the world and her creatures, “You’ve come back! We thought you took off on us eons ago.”
“We were just laying low,” said the angel. “Poachers.” The eagle nodded, the bull gave a snort, and the lion stretched his mouth in a tremendous yawn.
“Well, it’s a good thing you’re here,” we said to the world.
Suddenly, she was gone.
“What’s happened to the world?” we cried out.
The angel, looking bored, moved his chin in the direction where she had been standing. “It’s your oyster now.”
We looked, and there it was.
The eagle, who had been preening, was suddenly alert.
What happened next happened very quickly. Later, we would replay it again and again, stunned that we had not moved more quickly. But that’s how these things go.
As we watched the eagle fly off, no doubt digesting the world he had eaten, the angel cupped his hand to light a cigarette. Then he said, “Yeah. He loves those things.”
That was yesterday. The eagle has not yet returned and the other three are asleep in a large pile of soft snores, the angel’s head on the lion’s torso, the lion leaning into the bull’s flank, the bull’s ear’s twitching.
They look cute like that, like one of those images someone might post, of a box of new cats. It’s funny to be here still noticing things like this, even after the world is all gone.
Inspired by a chance encounter with The World as depicted in a tarot deck.