Nicole Urquhart + Dinos Kellis

My 1:1

The little boy sat on his bedroom floor, surrounded by toys. Part of the room was covered in darkness but there was light over his shoulder as he sat, looking at his new plaything, a small globe made out of plasteline; blue and green and a tiny smudge of white.
“Mm… stars. Pretty,” he said and smiled. And then, they were there; spinning around him, sparkling and gleaming, filling his hazel eyes with light.
He stood on his little legs and walked around the ball. He looked at the stillness of the sea, earth and sky, and frowned as it all seemed wrong somehow. Then he snapped two chubby fingers and there it was; the ball started whirling around itself. So, he sat and watched as the winds were born and the seasons came to be and the first wave stretched itself upon the whiteness of the sands.
“He’ll like that.” said the boy, putting his thumb between his lips. Then he sneezed, and that blast of wind made the ball turn white and cold. Looking puzzled, he touched it with his thumb and the frost burned the tip of the finger. The boy quickly drew the finger away but the change was impressive on the small globe. The whiteness seemed to slowly melt away, starting from the point of his touch. The sphere was back to its previous blue-green form in no time. And where he had touched –a few moments of immeasurable time ago– something steered and raised its newborn eyes to the sky, looking in wonder at the little boy amidst the stars.
So he picked up the ball and walked out of the room towards the big silent staircase of the house. An older boy stood there, a book before him. He placed it by his side, as he watched his younger brother climb the big steps, curly black hair bouncing on his little head and something shining bright between his plump hands. The toddler came and sat on the last step next to him, smiling. He leaned his head upon the big boy’s arm and opened his palms, revealing the gift. Chants could be heard emanating from the globe. They sounded funny.
“Happy birthday,” the little boy said and handing it over, he gave him a sloppy kiss on the cheek.

Birthday Girl

A lonely elm tree stood by the creek, on the far side of the meadow. Olia was sitting between its ancient roots, her naked toes playing with the soft mud under them. She was holding a bottle of milk in one hand, a saucer and a wooden music box in the other. Her worried eyes were on the box, fixed on the image of a dancing cat, engraved upon it. The figure reminded Olia of an old nursery rhyme, her granny had taught her.
Give her milk and play the tune;
Kitty will be with you soon

Her friend was growing weaker and more distant, every day that passed. Their meetings were becoming rarer and rarer. She filled the saucer with warm milk, careful not to spill a single drop. She then took the box in her hands.
Olia looked on her side, towards the cottage on the meadow’s other side; the real world. A big birthday cake and smiling faces were waiting for her back there. Pink clouds cascaded gently above, paying their respects to the birthday girl.
She sniffed and opened the box’s lid.
As a soft tune arose from within, she closed her blue eyes and waited.
Then a low growl was heard before her, followed by soft lapping. Olia nodded and stood up while the sweet melody hung in the air above the music box.
An old grey cat, milk dripping from its whiskers, looked up at her.
“Kitty,” said the girl and the words turned the child’s lips into a sad smile.
The cat licked the milk off its nose and slightly tilted its head in attention.
“Nana said you could stay until I was a big girl,” Olia said and sobbed.
“I’m a big girl now, kitty.”
The cat’s blue eyes narrowed. It shook its head, letting a long-drawn meowl. It looked so tired, so old…
“I have to let you go. If you stay…”
The music box’s song carried on. Far behind, a mother’s hand was lighting seven birthday candles, voices called her name. For just a moment, the cat’s figure flickered like a flame.
“You must find other children to take care of now.”
The cat huffed in annoyance. Gathering its dwindling strength, it began to grow big, as big as the elm tree. Its gray fur became a glistening coat of white and brown, tinted with peacocks’ eyes that flickered in the rising wind. It growled towards the girl with an open mouth, full of big teeth. The creek picked up that growl and tossed its echo around the meadow.
Olia stood motionless. The cat roared again and again but they both knew those roars held no fury within them, only sadness for their inevitable parting. The huge snout lowered to the level of her eyes, sniffing its friend. Blue bore into blue.
The girl kissed the furry forehead then put her hands around the big cat’s neck.
“I’ll miss you,” she tried to say, but her voice was broken into a whimper.
Dejected, the creature growled softly, steadily reverting to its previous size, until Olia found herself holding a grey kitten in her lap. She turned her head towards the music box, now at its dying notes. Closing her teary eyes again, she cradled her friend lovingly.
“Bye bye, kitty.”
Olia opened her eyes, the moment the music came to an end and the feeling of soft fur disappeared from her arms. The box’s lid fell, leaving her alone under the tree and the clouds. She swept her tears and turned towards the cottage. She was a big girl now.