She could hear his abdomen, even from eight stories above. She knew he waited for her, dressed in new skin holding the bark of a mango tree. For thirteen years, she had dug and hid, dug and hid, a pale pearl of a nymph sheltered in flooding clay. Prematurely buried. She had fed on rootjuice and waited.
And now, the time for burying herself had gone. She no longer wore the tough soil skin of the past. The brightness of being was nearly unbearable. She was green and larger than herself.
She sat exposed, mesmerized by the equatorial sunlight and the sound of his clicking ribs. She could see him from here, just a speck, but she could tell even at this distance that he looked back at her. Through her ten eyes, he was a kaleidoscope of rounded cicada flecks, mirrored and moving in unison, calling her to the ground.
And then a closer sound. Behind her, ten of the same dark-haired girls with lightning eyes and cloud-colored skin reached a catastrophic finger in her direction.
She heard him again, dry-fly ribs rubbing together to blot out the sounds of metropolitan traffic and children. The vibrations called to her.
She looked down at the expectant mango tree and imagined the future she would create: millions of shimmery nymphs sprinkling from the branches, raining onto the soil below, christening the ground with their sparkling selves.
There was nothing for her to do now, except let go.