1 February 2015 – first day of daily writing challenge. I’ll admit, I nearly forgot that I was going to do this challenge. I didn’t tell anyone about it, and the date just kind of snuck up on me. But, I want to be more disciplined, so here we are.
Remember that this is a first draft, checked only for spelling and punctuation. Whether it’s good or not is up to you. Over the course of the month (and yes, I know it’s the shortest month), I hope that the quality will improve.
Read, enjoy (?) and please comment.
The scissored triangles flit across my vision. They swoop, grazing the road before me, then disappear before I can focus. I take my foot off the accelerator, slowing to avoid hitting whatever that was, long after the thing was gone. Should have been a bird, but the thing was so fast, I couldn’t identify it clearly. A shadow of paranoia drifts across my mind; I feel my forehead wrinkle under the strain of my eyebrows drawing down. Don’t be stupid, it was just a bird. Stop looking for weird things where none exist. You really are bored with your life. Moron.
Another crosses the path while I’m walking from the car park to the main university building. Same shape, same swooping motion, same swift disappearance. That was just the same as before. I stop, watch where it disappeared into the bushes at the edge of the path, but I can’t see anything. I turn and look behind me. Nothing. I turn back and start walking. What were you expecting? Ninjas poised to kill you? Like you’d be able to see if they were there in the first place.
The last one doesn’t cross in front, but swings in swift from behind, and lodges in the folds of my hood. I notice nothing. I pause to light a cigarette, huddling forward to protect the fragile flame from the wind that picks up. I stand under the designated shelter, inhaling and exhaling my expedited death, and my mind is empty. A flicker of moment from my left convinces me to look. I stare across the car park to the playing fields beyond – nothing there, except the scattered remnants of last week’s snow. There’s nothing else to look at, but I miss the snow, so I stare at it, flipping through memories of head-high snowdrifts.
A flutter of motion on my shoulder. I strain to turn my eyes to the furthest corner of sight. The scissored triangles are perched there, and it is a bird, the tiniest black bird I’ve encountered. Its claws are tangled in the lining of my hood, and though its beak opens and closes, it makes no sound. The triangle wings flutter and strain as it tries to free itself.
Without speaking, I drop the butt of the cigarette to the floor, and reach towards it. My hand moves slowly. Don’t peck my eye out, I’m just trying to help. Like a bird would peck your eye out. Even birds don’t think you’re that important. The wings go up, head goes down, and beak opens wide – aggressive stance. My hand approaches from above, and the tips of the trembling wings tickle my palm. The bird hunkers down again, beak opened wide, and my hand descends.
Under the gentle weight of the palm, the wings scissor closed, wrapped tight to the bird’s back as my fingers enclose it like a cage. I lift it up, and the claws untangle easily. Pedalling furiously, the silent bird pecks at my hand. Defence through attack.
I stretch my arm out, turning my palm to the sky. Though the bird is now on its back, I didn’t want to just drop it. I open my fingers. The blur of motion is incomprehensible, but the bird is gone. And here you thought you were seeing things, hoping to be assassinated by ninjas. I look at the single pinprick of blood on my wrist where the little beggar had made contact. Some thanks for my help. Honestly.
The sample is retrieved from the collection device, and entered into the system analyser. The man’s expression is unreadable behind his glasses, and his attention cannot be drawn from the machine. He has been waiting for this.