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I knew the girl who was not a girl, who spoke truths none of us were ready to hear. Whose mind was not for us to ever understand, and so was kept in a box, like all precious and secret things. Not once did she utter her own name. Yet, those who observed her, who measured and calculated her every movement, did. And they called her Fatima.

Her life, as I knew it, was one of numbers, not words. From behind a glass panel, her keepers maintained numbers on all sorts of things. They could tell you her t-cell count, the amount of neurons firing in her brain, and her age (approximately). But numbers do not make a person, and despite this she was still a mystery to us all. For as long as we were behind the pane of glass, not once did she utter a word. She spoke no words when they came to collect blood, she spoke no words when they came with her meals. She spoke no words when she looked into your eyes.

And so it was like this, for a time. She broke her silence of the 15th of May, two years after we received her.

"I have come bearing gifts."

The voice was not timid.

And when her lips parted, a plume unfurled from that sacred space. Like silk, like vapor, like gold, it came into this world from the next. It spiraled and folded back onto itself a dozen times as it floated upwards before settling just above our heads. It was delicate, and though I could not hold it with my hands, or comprehend its true dimensions, I knew it to be impossible and incompatible with this reality.

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