Friday, June 10, 2011


The candlegiraffes walk at night. As far as I know, they might not even exist in the day. I've only seen them in the dark. The candles on their heads never seem to go out; they're visible for miles, a procession of bright flames in an uneven line, marching over the Scalps. They cross the plains in silence, traveling from somewhere to somewhere else, or possibly to nowhere in particular.

I don't know where the candles come from. Perhaps they grow out of the giraffes' heads - unicorn horns of wax and string. The giraffes don't seem to mind the hot wax that drips down their faces. Moths flutter around their perpetually burning lights, along with other insects, flies and lacewings and dimly shining beetles. Fireflies ignite themselves in the flames and fly off like tiny phoenixes to lay their coal-black eggs in nests of ash. The candlegiraffes pay them no notice.* The little ones are distractible; they stop to look at flowers and bushes and interesting insects. The adults are above all that, though, and not just in height. They never seem to notice anything. Their feet glide along, invisibly distant in the dark - but they never trip, never stumble, never make a sound except the faint rustle of grass against hooves. I've seen people try to get in the way of a candlegiraffe procession. It doesn't work. Somehow, the line seems to go around all obstacles without ever changing its course; people who try to get in the way find that they've simply misjudged where that is, every single time. The giraffes just walk by, uncaring. They march in a perfectly straight line that never quite meets anything. People seem to be about as important to them as weeds. We are below eye level and below notice.

People have tried to follow candlegiraffes before - scientists and writers, usually, or other members of the perpetually curious. They say that the night never ends. The giraffes seem to follow it, somehow, or perhaps it follows them. People have trailed along after them for whole weeks without a single day. Dawn never comes until they give up, or collapse from exhaustion, and the candlegiraffes move on without them.

Wherever they're going, nothing is going to follow them there. Not even the sun.

* There are rumors that they catch the insects with their tongues, like frogs; if so, they do it so quickly that I've never seen it.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

  • Stats Tracked by StatCounter