Brief update and a bit of fiction

Although I said I would update at the beginning of the month, I kind of failed at that.  It’s got a lot to do with depression, anxiety, and illness.  I’m going to try my best and fix that now, though, so let’s move on.

It’s the week of American Thanksgiving and as a thank you to those who might swing by this place, I thought I would offer you a piece of fiction.

This is a piece I’ve worked on since the beginning of the summer and have chosen to not submit.  It’s a thing I love though and want to send into the world, so I am putting it here.

As The Birds Awaken // 921 words


The bird’s heart ticks softly: once, then again, again, again. The sound is comforting, a promise wrapped in wire. It might be a lie, but he holds onto it nonetheless.

There are moments where the soothing stops short,  when it feels like the Reaper sits outside his door counting the seconds, one, two, three, waiting for his cue. But he’s prepared to take a stand and he won’t give Death his hand unless he’s left with no other options.  His body may wither away, but his consciousness will soar the skies on mechanical wings.

The bird sings, loud and strange, but a song all the same. His inspiration came from the crows outside his window, their voices invading his brain until he could hear nothing else but their awful songs.  Crows have a cleverness to them though, a peculiar charm that he finds alluring in its oddness. He knew that if he had to be something else, if he had to lose this mortal form and take a new one, it should be that of a crow.

The bird rises from its perch, taking a tour of the lab before settling on the desk beside him. The creature tilts its head, studying him with a curiosity that he knows well. The look holds the same curiosity that’s driven him for years, the curiosity that brought him to this point.

His gaze is torn from the bird by a sudden coughing fit, and his hand brushes his mouth, coming away wet and sticky. There’s no surprise as he studies it, no devastation. He knows what’s on the way for him. He can taste the blood on his tongue and feel the Reaper inching closer, one, two, three.

He won’t die from a cough, but he is going to die, and it will be soon. He can feel it in every inch of him, his body shutting down with each minute that passes by. He can’t be sure what makes him think it will be tonight, can’t pinpoint the exact moment of realization, but he knows, with every fiber of his being, that he won’t live in this form tomorrow.

That’s all right. He’s ready for this..

He reaches out to the bird and coaxes it closer, gently convincing it to perch on his arm so he can bring it with him across the lab. He’s prepared the corner of the room for the last few hours he’ll spend in his human body, everything he might need placed neatly nearby. There’s nothing impressive about it, but there’s a bed and a perch, and a few wires and clips to be attached to himself and the makeshift bird now that the time is dawning

It will be soon, so soon, he can count the minutes, feel the second sliding off of him like drops, one, two, three, four…

He sets the bird on the brass perch, where it settles quietly, its eyes trailing his hands as he works to finish his preparations. He hums to fill the silence.

Compared to the bird’s song, his is weak and soft, lacking the energy that it had once and will again. He smiles at it as he completes his work, reaching out with shaking fingers to stroke its back before setting the last wires in place.

It really is a stunning creature, made of the finest things he could acquire: bits of brass and copper shot through with silver, eyes made of precious stones. It’s a hodgepodge of a thing, but that’s what he wants. It feels like him; like everything he was in this life and everything he will be in the next.

Each breath is harder than the last as he finally positions himself on the bed, a struggle with the air that he’s quickly losing. His eyes close, and as his head rests against the pillow he knows that his final moments are at last rising up to greet him.

Five, inhale.  Four, exhale.  Three, inhale. Two, exhale.  One…

~*~

The bird watches the human closely in his final moments. When he closes his eyes, the bird lets out a soft noise, something small and fearful, shifting on its perch.

As the man’s last breath leaves him, the bird spreads its wings and shoots into the air, breaking free of the contraptions keeping it bound.

The idea of dying, of losing what awareness it has gained, had terrified the creature since it had come to understand its own purpose and meaning. The man may not have been ready to die, but it’s certainly not the bird’s responsibility to fall in order to keep him from that fate.

It watches from the air as the man falls into the depths of death, counting the seconds until it can no longer sense a heartbeat.

It’s better this way, the bird thinks to itself as it looks down at the corpse. Better to let the man see that death isn’t to be toyed with and that there’s a price to pay for such things. It lets out a soft caw and flies closer, landing neatly on the body’s chest and walking forward until it’s at the chin. Its beak is tipped with diamond; it won’t need much strength to do the work.

The bird feasts, and as it does, it listens to the distant sound of its kin singing their strange songs to the sky. It eats until it’s full, savoring the new sensation as it lifts its head and its voice, spreading its wings to join them.

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