I have been playing a bit with Flash Fiction lately and I wrote this as an exercise from the wonderful Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer. The exercise is called “Last Drink Bird Head” and is at the end of the book. My text is 499 words and written this morning so I am posting this with almost no correction.
– o –
I remember the bird. Well I don’t remember the bird per se but I remember it rocked, back and forth, back and forth like a swing. Back and forth.
I don’t actually remember the bird though, just the movement. It may have rocked me to sleep. I felt it sitting there, swinging and I know I watched it. There may have been green eyes and a beak, orange and lush.
There was movement somewhere around me but I couldn’t turn, I couldn’t move. Like a child in its crib looking around I tried but failed to turn. I was trapped there, head to the ground.
“Milk or honey?” someone asked and I don’t know if they were talking to me or someone else.
“Milk” I said but there was just laughter.
“Milk it is” the voice said and I felt a liquid pouring down my cheeks. I opened my mouth and felt the liquid filling my mouth. I swallowed, I swallowed twice before I realised it wasn’t milk I was being fed. It was something else.
“One last drink” the voice said. It was a rasp male voice, old but not ancient. I felt confused and the bird was still rocking, back and forth, back and forth. It made me dizzy.
“One last drink?” the voice repeated and this time he sounded angry. I hiccuped an answer and the liquid ran into my mouth and down my throat.
“You feel the effects in just a while and then you will feel nothing” he said and it felt ominous. My heart was beating fast and yet I could do nothing but watch that damned bird go back and forth, back and forth.
And that’s when it started as a pain in my neck. It was a severe pain and I believe I lost consciousness because I don’t remember much more than that awful pain.
When I came to again the bird was still swinging, its orange beak mocking me, picking my nose in each swing.
And I had no arms to usher it away. I tried turning my head but it was impossible. I couldn’t move. I skimmed down and realised I was in the air. I had a view over the room and the damned bird was sitting beside me somehow, pecking at me.
“You are such a funny creature” the voice said. “And now you are my price, mounted on my wall”.
I glimpsed down and there it was. A big oak plague.
“Want a mirror?” the old voice said and I tried to nod but couldn’t.
“Yes” I said.
And there I was.
Or well what was left of me. My head, mounted on a plague on the wall and the bird was mounted on the plague with me, pecking at me.
I can’t really see it and I don’t really remember what it looks like but I see it’s orange beak and vague outlines.
I am just a head, being pecked at by a toy bird.
– o –