The world in a hundred years: Xyril

Illustration by Sharon Calman/ Text by Madeleine Blaschke

Here and now

You can see in their big and sad eyes that they were once awake and once bubbling with ideas and inspiration.

Xyrill blows a green feather from her face. “What?” she asks, poking listlessly at her breakfast cereal. “By the way, you know I can’t have milk,” she says, pulling her mouth crooked.

“That’s almond milk, genius!” I answer and amicably brush her colorful mop of hair in passing. “I hate marzipan!” Xyril replies stubbornly and pushes the plate away. I stand in the door frame and watch “my” little girl sitting there in front of the kitchen counter. Huddled together, almost cramped.
Her tail wrapped around the legs of the bar stool and with all 12 toes of her right foot angrily clutching the bar – and inevitably has to think of the day I first met her.

Xenophobia

At that time there was the great war, the persecution of “others” after humanity discovered them. With the discovery of the aliens, xenophobia reached a new level. Xyril fled from her hunters and this escape led her to me. I hid her back then and she’s been with me ever since.

Our first encounter

Suddenly, a bang. I start up and turn to the balcony door. A big bloodstain is stuck to the windshield. A bloodstain with feathers. “Poor little birdie,” I think, and open the door.

There’s a mountain of dead birds outside the door. Deafening screams from everywhere: cries for help, cries of rage, cries of escape, cries of persecution.

A single, searing pain. It reeks of dust and fire. Orange-red sky and screaming. When a fat crow hits me in the head, I collapse.
I open my eyes and I can’t see. Blood and feathers clog my view.

I rub my eyes and see a solidly shod foot right in front of my face. I look up and a cold gush of water hits me in the face. I wipe dirt from my face and look into a grim, demanding. “WHERE?” barks the man who reminds me of a fat mastiff. “I don’t know,” I come from insecure.

Then I see the boot coming towards my face and – it gets dark again … Shh. Do not disturb them!” – “No, don’t touch, who knows if she has diseases!” –

“They are coming. They’re coming!”

I wake up because I’m freezing. I’m almost naked. Someone must have stolen my clothes, I guess. In front of me sits a green-yellow plush toy about one meter tall with big awake and purple eyes. It tilts the head.

I’ll look around. No one else is there. “Have you? Did you just move?” I bring up. “Oh, look at it, it can think!” says the stuffed animal, but I don’t see anything stirring in its face.

I’m going to sit up. “You’re one of those weird dreams…” I say to myself, rubbing my temple. My nose hurts like hell. I try to touch them. “Don’t touch! It’s broken, genius!” says the stuffed animal.

“What…” – “Are you”?

the stuffed animal interrupted me before I could start. “I’m tired of this stupid question! Why doesn’t anyone ask me WHO I am? Why does everyone think I’m a freak? I don’t want to be a freak. I just want to be ME”, it says and now I see that it defiantly warps its mouth and now I feel that I don’t have to talk either.

It can feel my thoughts and I can feel his. Before I realize this is creepy, our conversation is already in full swing. “You ran away, didn’t you?” “Yes.” – A tear rolls out of one of those infinitely deep, sad ponds in her face and falls glisteningly to the ground. I know by now that it is a she – and I couldn’t explain why – sitting huddled up in front of me. Their green feathers shimmer a bit in places where they are not encrusted with dirt. I discover burnt holes in her “fur” and her shoulder is wet. “You’re hurt too”. “They’re just scratches.” She raises her head confidently.

Alternative for the world

“If you can’t love, at least they could have left you alone,” I say, and a sadness, both familiar and new, overcomes me. “I’ve stopped wondering which of us are the aliens,” I say, “and I don’t care”… “We have to get out of here,” she says, holding out her hand. “They’re looking for me,” she says, adding sadly, “And now you too…”

The green and yellow hand takes mine, pulls me through the balcony door, closes it behind me and hastily draws the curtains. She’s breathing. Walk past a picture on the wall that shows a stern looking man wearing an armband with “AfdW” written on it: “Alternative for the world”.

Xyrill sticks her gum on the man’s face. I draw in the air and want to… so she says: “Come on, let’s play Trivial Pursuit! I give!” I smile “That’s not how the game goes” – and hug her. “We’re winning, Xyril?” “We win!”

 

 

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