The Departures

There was a city on the cliffs of time, well ordered and wealthy. Beyond the cliffs, the whirling darkness stretched, only barely illuminated by uncertain stars. One day, the mechanic who lived there had to go on a long journey to purchase matter for making new things. While he was away, the scholars and magistrates organized and held the great event. It was awaited with great expectation by some, and met with an almost confusing ecstasy by others. The great event took place right on the cliffs. The music played. The cobbler was the first to leap off the cliff. He became a butterfly. The midwife danced over the edge. She turned into a salamander. The wet nurse, the doctor, the librarian, the lawyer, the schoolmaster, the banker, the sheriff, the mason, the tailor, the grocer, the whore and the priest all flew off into various transfigurations. All who remained were amazed and expected more events and more departures. Not long after, the mechanic attempted to return home. On the way, he was beaten, robbed and left for dead. The barefoot mechanic awoke by the roadside in pain, but being a patient and strong man, continued on his way. When he arrived at the city on the cliffs of time, they told him about the miraculous event, the transformations and the departures. That’s wonderful, the mechanic sighed. Who then will make me a pair of boots?

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