Early in the morning, he was woken yet again. An old man
stood above him, just as the Lioness had stood.
"I've lost a key to a box," said the old man, gently.
"Help me find it."
"What does it look like?"
"I don't know," said the old man, feeling the grooves. "I
lost it years ago."
"And you've been looking for it all this time?" asked Francis.
"I'm blind, it's been rather difficult."
"And how did you find me?"
"The sound of your breath."
"And where is the box?"
"She has it."
"The Lioness. I wish to give it to her, to show her how
I have tried."
"How strange," murmured Francis looking at the man's dusty
hands cupped to form the box.
"How do you know the Lioness?"
"She is the only thing that pierces through my darkness. Did you see
"Did you see her box?"
"What's in the box?"
"A sunflower. Her heart is a sunflower."
"Why is her heart in a box?" asked Francis.
"I did it. Many years ago, in a fit of rage, I locked it up and
cut out my eyes so that I would never
see her again."
"And the key?" asked Francis.
"I tossed it away."
"Where?" asked Francis.
"Over there," he said, pointing towards the rock, and, of course,
the key was there, in a clump of grass.
"Well?" said Francis, handing him the key.
"I don't know if she still has the box." said the old man, sighing,
"I never asked her."
It was strange how they hurt one another, how resigned each was. He could
see what even brought them together in the first place. These miles
between cities was a distance that they had charted out. Out of small plot
they had carved out a vast distance and it was here that they stumbled
Francis felt ghostly himself.