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Poppylands

Lillith and Danby sat on the grass of the shallow cliff counting poppies

In parts the cliff had broken away leaving gaps amongst the sloping vegetation

Both women were aware of these gaps but nonetheless sat dangerously close to the hidden voids

Lillith was wearing a red cotton dress of the modernist style

Danby was wearing a blue cotton dress of the modernist style

Neither woman noticed the remarkable cloud formations that were beginning to form above the weathered church

They counted the poppies around them randomly often counting the same poppy twice

One-Two-Three-Four-Five

Six-Seven-Eight-Nine-Ten

Both women stopped counting at ten as they considered it unlucky to count more than ten poppies in one sitting

They were both thirty-five years old having been born in the same town on the same day and in the same bed

Nearby Elizabeth stood next to her grandparents

She was wearing a yellow cotton dress of the modernist style

Elizabeth was thirty-six

Unlike Lillith and Danby she was aware of the cloud formations and was not at all perturbed when her grandparents were carried off by one of the lower clouds

Soon Elizabeth was lifted up by a dense cloud

She found herself floating high above the shallow cliffs

Her yellow cotton dress of the modernist style was altering its shape and was growing quite pale

She had also grown small green wings which fluttered rapidly in the upper winds

In her right hand she held a tin of mustard powder which she sprinkled carefully over the resort

Lillith and Danby had begun counting the poppies again and ignoring their superstitions had progressed beyond twenty

They both noticed that the day had become considerably warmer even though there was a noticeable breeze coming in from the sea

They decided to take a paddle to cool down and taking the chalky cliff path they soon found themselves paddling in the refreshing sea

On the cliffs above Elizabeth stood next to her grandparents

She was counting the many poppies around her station

This was a solitary occupation

Lillith and Danby were now paddling in the deeper waters and the gentle waves were beginning to dampen the hems of their cotton dresses

They were  surrounded by a large number of smooth grey pebbles

The women began counting these small grey pebbles

One-Two-Three-Four-Five-Six-Seven-Eight-Nine-Ten