One Thousand Cranes

In Japanese folklore, there’s a legend that those who fold one thousand paper cranes are granted a wish. This is one of those stories.

There was a dark room. Only one single candle was alit. Too dangerous otherwise. Paper was so fragile, so flammable. Like dreams. Easy to contrive and so much easier to destroy. In the middle of the room near the candle sat a girl. She had a piece of paper in her hand, folding it and wrapping it in skilled and fast movements like she never did anything else before. She was lost in thought or she was in trance thinking nothing at all, maybe even hypnotized by the same movements all over again. No one can tell, cause no one is her. Around her were cranes. So many cranes. Countless cranes. They were sitting on the floor beside her. They were hanging from the ceiling. They were pillowing up in big waves of a paper sea.

It was a battlefield. Soldier by Soldier, row on row.

Those who were not able to fight for her wish lied with broken wings next to her. Fateless cripples without a destiny. The others were standing there, facing an unknown enemy. Waiting. Anticipating.

Each fold had her soul in it. Each crane was accompanied by a single tear. One tear doesn’t sound like much. But thousand tears are an ocean. An ocean of tears for the paper sea.

In every fold was a part of her dream weaved in. Only all combined would make her wish complete. Only then she would allow herself to rest. Only when her dream came true. But does she still remember what her wish was? Does it even matter?

She lost count a while ago. No one can tell how many cranes fill this dark room because the little flame can’t reach in every corner anymore.

It only takes one little crane, too fragile to bear the burden that it carries in every single fold. One little crane can end it all. By being the thousandth crane and making this flammable wish come true. Or by litting the spark of insanity and make everything come true. The girl wouldn’t even notice.

There is no difference between igniting the wish or catching fire. Not anymore.

The little candle is hungry.
The fragile crane is tired.
The girl is folding.

One desperate flame.
One lonely crane.
One forgotten wish.

The candle goes out.

Darkness devours this small world. Devours the cranes and the girl and a stump of a candle. If you listen closely you can still hear the soft rustling of paper, sounding almost like the flapping of a thousand wings.


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