It was as tall as the canopy, twenty-five feet or more, its long, bone-white head brushing the branches, sand-petals spiraling down.
Though it still howled, it lacked a mouth, or indeed any features on its face but eyes, which it had in terrifying numbers, twin rows of lidless, lashless slits that ran down each side of its head. There were perhaps a hundred eyes in all, but staring an age at it would not have revealed their true number, for the thing, despite its solidity, defied fixing. Were those wheels that moved at its heart, tied with lines of liquid fire to a hundred other geometries which informed the air it occupied? Did innumerable wings beat at its perimeters, and light burn in its bowels, as though it had swallowed stars?
Nothing was certain. In one breath, it seemed to be enclosed in a matrix of darting light, like scaffolding struck by lightning; in the next, the pattern became flame confetti, which swarmed at its extremities before it was snatched away. One moment, ether; the next, juggernaut.
And then, as suddenly as it had begun, the wail it was unleashing died away.