Flames blazed in the wall braziers around the stone courtyard. Ornate clocks lined the columns of the cloister, though the hands never moved around their faces. Time hung suspended over the citadel of the Fates, its momentous occasions twinkling like stars in a false firmament.
The first sister sat on a stool, her eyes roving across the expanse above her. A large sack, its fabric the colour of midnight, lay on the ground at her feet. Every few moments, she reached into the sack, and drew forth a length of yarn. She wound it between and around her fingers, her eyes never leaving the celestial snapshot.
The second sister leaned over the loom, adjusting the shuttle before it rattled across the warp with its yarn cargo. She peered at the weave produced thus far, and frowned. Whole patches of muddy brown and rancid mustard marked the otherwise cheerful pattern. She wiggled her nail between the threads, but the yarn didn’t lie. It couldn’t lie.
The third sister roamed around the courtyard, staring into the darkness congealed in the corners. She was concerned by neither the wonders in the sky, nor the patterns of the loom. Images of solitude, and the eternal peace of oblivion, occupied her mind. She fashioned silence from the shadows, letting the gentle breeze catch her cobwebs of catatonic thoughts.
“I don’t like how this piece is turning out,” said the second sister.
“What’s wrong with it?” asked the first sister.
“Well it should be a cheerful pattern. It started out that way. But now all of these horrid colours are creeping in.” The second sister sat back, watching the shuttle do its work.
“So change the pattern,” replied the first sister.
The second sister got up and drifted across the courtyard. She disappeared into the cloister, and the rooms beyond.
“It’s so nice being outside for a change,” said the first sister.
“I notice it not,” replied the third.
“It’s such a pleasant evening.”
“It’s neither pleasant nor evening. It simply is.”
The first sister rolled her eyes and returned to her sack of yarn. A shooting star, a flare of stupendous endeavour, streaked across the blanket above. She smiled; it had been some time since anything positive echoed through Time.
The second sister returned empty-handed.
“Where are all the patterns, dear? I can’t find a single one for a happy ending. The whole cupboard is bare.”
“We’ve used them all up. There are no happy endings any more. There can simply be what will be.”
The third sister stopped roaming, and glided towards the loom.
“I think what our dear little depressive means is that your patterns are going to get a whole lot muddier,” said the first sister.
The third sister peered down at the loom. She scowled.
“This pattern has gone on too long.”
She reached into the large pocket of her apron and pulled free a large pair of black shears. She severed the thread, and the snip of the shears reverberated around the courtyard.
A tiny ripple flickered in the firmament overhead. None of them noticed as a single light went out.