Bewildering Stories

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Bird, said Bird

by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

If it wasn’t for the sound of feather fluttering, he wouldn’t have been in the air. Sound makes waves and wakes and every action reacts and, since it pressed into the holes in his head and it pressed into the eardrums of the man lying shirtless on the golf course green, it created lift, powerful and silent. Up, up and away. The moon moved aside.

Dancing stars singed hairs of the prey, a stag in connected dots, which hadn’t spoken and wouldn’t. Hydrogen particles echoed and thrust the bird higher and higher. The bird dropped talons from its feet and beak and tail and everywhere angry, stumbling into the stag on the lip of its father constellation. Then, circling, the bird came suddenly upon the clear, impenetrable edge of the universe and spread his quick blood across, but not through it. A stain remained in the incongruously funny shape of two spread wings. A cluster dust of nebula formed around it to hide the universe’s embarrassment.

Star, said Star.

No one had asked her name. She was alone, gathering up the burned remains of her sisters’ clothes as they shone, naked, in the distance, falling dimmer. She felt herself weakening and poof she was gone, no piss or puddle of gravity, just like that with all her sisters’ robes and vestments, which would go unmissed. In her last picoseconds, repeating for deities too concerned with the bird’s first suicide, a flicker gasp of radiation soul went loose and toward a shrouded planet.

Its timing was perfect. Dusk was just falling and the last golfer’s petulant shout had long since pushed its owner into the drink. Light, as visible and intangible as an hallucination, was pulled to the dense black center of the man dozing with his eyes open. He stole the last of the star. Pulled her as he would a thread from the bodice of a lover’s dress.

Ian, said Man.

And now he put his foot on it. It made him specific, conclusive, easily found. He kicked off his shoes and spit on them. He walked to a mountain and lifted a phone from his pocket. It registered night’s heat, the stars copulating, rubbing friction and fulsome gas together, but no bars of connectivity. He threw the phone and listened to the echoes of wind and wings amplified by the bowl of the world, cupping light like blood and sound like water.

He threw the phone. Radio waves beat through him, sticky, rattling the fillings in his molars. An announcer declared war on the genders, war on oppression, and bare love for nobody important who was named Suzanne.

The man fair burned his clothes away, just to be quiet and unmoving.

Copyright © 2005 by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

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