Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived at the very tippy top of the tallest mountain in the world, a mountain so high that when you walked around on its peak you had to duck and crawl to make sure your head didn’t accidentally poke up through the atmosphere and set the blood in your brain to boil like a pot of crawfish. The mountain sat right next to the deepest canyon in the world, a canyon so deep and black that if you fell into it you would almost certainly die of old age before you ever hit the bottom. Dark, oily, squirmy creatures were rumored to inhabit its depths, but no scientific evidence had ever been presented on the matter because the technology to explore such depths did not exist. The creatures existed in the horrified corners of terrified minds, and anything that anyone imagined about them was as close to the truth as the truth mattered, which was not very much at all since the truth was undiscoverable.
The little girl lived all by herself at the tippy top of the mountain, ten or more miles above the beginning of the village that dotted the snowy ice cap. She liked it there because it was far away from her terrible parents, who had gotten into an argument three years before and had never stopped. Their voices were gone, but they still screamed silently at one another out of angry open mouths set in deep purple faces, and often mimed throwing the crockery since they had long before broken everything there was to break. The tippy top of the mountain was also great because it was just the right size for her; she could walk about with a good four inches of clearance between the top of her head and the atmosphere, and for play would take a deep breath, hold it, and jump, poking her head out through the atmosphere just for a second. Just to see how it felt.
The villagers below had, over the few years the girl resided there, started to build up a mythology around her.
Pilgrims brought her loaves of bread dotted with dried fruit and beef jerky. Occasionally she would receive a gift, an odd sort of trinket or packet of coins or statue that had supposedly been carved in her likeness but which bore a striking resemblance to an eagle with the shrieking head of a woman, a dead rabbit clenched in one talon and the head of a pig in the other. Then one day a little girl about the same age as the little girl of the mountain came trundling up to her door bearing the weight of something large and unwieldy upon her back. She unstrapped the harness that kept it there and slung it into the snow. “LITTLE GIRL THAT LIVES ON THE MOUNTAIN!” she yelled, “COME OUT AND PLAY!”
The little girl that lived on the mountain came out at once. “What is that you brought?” she asked the little girl from the village.
It was a kite! A fabulous kite made from a strong silk bedsheet stretched across a light pine frame, and artfully plastered with the feathers of many colorful birds.
The two girls leaped onto the back of the kite at once and rode it down the mountain like a sled. It hurtled down the icy snow cap, down through the dense fir forest, out over the grassy tundra, over swiftly flowing rivers and sunny, flowery meadows, past wild towering constructs and gravelly banks, until with a great and mighty Woooooosh! the girls hurtled over the edge of the canyon at the bottom of the mountain and began their descent. They swirled and drifted, and other times they plunged, until they had ridden the kite for 120 years. Their hair had turned gray and flew out in long, wild ribbons behind them, and on their wrinkled faces they wore expressions of indescribable glee. When they finally touched the bottom of the chasm, there were no dark and oily creatures, no monsters, and strangest of all there was no darkness. Ahead of them at the bottom of the chasm was a curtain of shimmering light. The two girls grasped one another by the hand and walked toward it.