Friday, February 27, 2009


Push to Play

He noticed the tall, thin Stranger in black jeans as the first of the sparrows hit the ground beside him - startling him to snap his gaze to the tiny bird where it had 'thumped.' It writhed on its back in the dust, clawing at the air with one, two, three grasping kicks before it shuddered still.

'Poor thing" formed in his mind when the second bird bounced off of the hard soil beneath the tree, stiff by the time it had settled. After a pause came the third, fourth, fifth - a hail of small brown bodies crashing into the dirt with a muddy 'thud' the only noise they made.

In fact, the park had gone still, save the whispered sounds of the little, feathered, silent sparrows raining down. More than sparrows now - some larger black birds, a tiny green finch... Then the first of the squirrells crashed through the limbs above him and landed almost at his feet. It bounced knee high and he saw the brown pupil of its eye roll back into its head, the neck bending too far to one side. Others followed. He stopped counting. One of the shapes brushed his hand as gravity drew it to the dirt and he gasped, taking a backwards step.

Once again the tall, thin Stranger in the black jeans caught his eye. Captured his eyes, more like - his gaze transfixed by the lines on the tall, thin Stranger's hard face. All was silent now. Everything that had been alive in the trees above them now lay motionless on the ground. Squirrells, birds, even insects had fallen into the hard-pan soil of the forest floor.

He needed to speak. Needed to ask the tall, thin Stranger about the deluge of Death they'd witnessed. Needed to break the stare but he was suddenly powerless. Then the Stranger seemed to smile - oh, so slightly - and the space between them grew gray and heavy. His limbs had never felt so heavy. The pull of the ground like hands crawling up his legs walking on unseen fingers, weighing him down.

'Down to rest.' Did the Stranger say the words or had he mumbled aloud to himself. He talked to himself all the time, especially when he was tired. So very tired. Eyes now as heavy as his arms and legs. Again the Stranger smiled. This time broader - showing teeth and wetting his lower lip with his tongue.

'Timothy." He knew the Stranger had spoken it. Spoken his name. But how did the tall, thin Stranger know his name? He hadn't told him. The Stranger must know him. Must have expected him? Must have come for him and caused this deadly rain.

As the thought that would evince his scream took shape in his mind, his head hit the crowded ground below. He tasted dust as his exhale blew the feathers of the first tiny bird that had fallen.

The tall, thin Stranger folded his arms and sighed.

1 comment:

A. Byrne-Reed, Artist & Creator said...

Wonderful, dark tale.