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By Cleo Mikutta

– V –




The wide-eyed girls came every night. When they opened their raincoats, a scent of bitter honey would pour out. They handed in plastic bags with broken handles and unwound silvery scarves to reveal sharp collarbones.

He looked for her short dark-blue hair, and the mark on the inside of her ring finger that looked like an eagle from a distance. He stared intensely at the hands handing him scarves and bags and coats.

When they first met, she told him how at a certain age she had grown to reach a height at which her ear became exactly level with the keyholes of the doors in the large, labyrinthine house she grew up in. From then on, whenever she could, she would wander along the far-reaching corridor outside her room, pausing before every keyhole, listening to the voices calling to her.

“Did you ever go in?”

“Only once.”




He waited for her in the shade of the towering racks of coats, trying to distill the frequency of her voice from the drone of music pushing through the gaps in the floor.

Below him, bodies stood quivering to pulsating sound.

“I’m here.”

“I can’t find you.”

He studied his palms. The creak of the racks, the high-pitched scrape and clink of hangers being pushed aside on metal bars, were melodies he began to associate with her disappearance. In the dark gap between one stranger’s coat and another, the image of her sleeping face would sometimes reveal itself to him.

“We’ve been flying together.”


“Over the mountains.”




It was on the day her father turned the clocks back one hour. That day she pushed open one of the doors. She told him how she thought of time in that hour as both repeating itself and standing still.

“We’ve been flying together.”


“Over the mountains.”




The room behind the door was full of forgotten things. Her attention was drawn to a tall grandfather clock that had fallen into disrepair. Circling the clock, running her hands over the worn-out polish of the wood, she found a small hook. Another door, and behind it a cabinet. She knelt down, crawled in, and closed the door.

After five days they found her.

She told him how silent everything felt, inside that small, dark space, in the forgotten grandfather clock.




It was the longest street in the city. At night, the end was a pinprick cluster of lights, inhabiting the smallest field of her vision. She knew she would reach that small field and become a spot of darkness, between the pinprick lights residing in a stranger’s eyes. The stranger would soon be where she was now, and by then, he would no longer be a stranger.

“I cast your hair into the sea.”





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Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3 | Read Part 4

Cleo Mikutta was born in Hamburg in 1991. She grew up in New York City and returned to Germany in 2001. She studied Fine Arts in Amsterdam and made her debut as a writer with Meeting Points, published in A Public Space, 2017.

Image credit: Wassily Kandinsky, “Small Worlds VI” (Kleine Welten VI). Woodcut, 27.3 x 23.2 cm, from a portfolio of twelve prints, six lithographs (including two transferred from woodcuts), four drypoints, and two woodcuts. Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1922. DIGITAL IMAGE © 2018, The Museum of Modern Art/Scala, Florence.


Cleo Mikutta: \ //, Part 4 – Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge · November 27, 2018 at 1:01 PM

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Cleo Mikutta: // \, Part 1 – Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge · November 27, 2018 at 1:02 PM

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