The trouble began with new censorship laws. An unpopular Prime Minister decided the insects responsible for pollination were philandering misogynists, and on the pretext they were genitals exposed to the public eye, proceeded to ban butterflies. This made no difference to most people, who still marched grim-faced to work every morning, and in the evening came home to reality TV and uneasy medicated dreams. Yet it had a tragic effect on Sebacea, who made her amniotic scones from sugar, flour, food dye, yeast and afterbirth scrounged from maternity wards. Butterflies had led her to those strange sorts who bought her scones, but now that they had disappeared she had to follow moths instead.
The moths led her far away from the city and into a place where few things grew. Here she encountered Heriphet, a relative of Hello Kitty, who rose above the desolate land like a hopelessly misplaced fairground attraction. Heriphet rarely moved, for her bones felt like broken glass and her limbs had fused together; but she drank the tears of the Gerenites, who had the heads of rotting sheep and the voices of abandoned children, and her luminous nose attracted the moths which she caught with her long sticky tongue.
Sebacea was a little disturbed, but offered Heriphet her scones. Heriphet was silent at first, then uttered a wet whistling sound, like that made by sucking lung wounds. “I see,” said Sebacea. “Then I should go.” Unfortunately she was lost; and she could not follow the moths home as they arrived from all directions. Cursing the incompetence that had led her so far astray, Sebacea trudged into the mists that swathed the cold earth like a funeral shroud. Some say she wanders even now, offering her scones to souls who fail to materialise.