I don’t like to be too hard on myself when I’m operating in a new medium, but this particular fiction piece failed to be understandable or relevant to my peer group, even though to me, I made it very easy to understand and thought it was glaringly obvious. This is a great example of getting “lost in translation” and I at first was pretty frustrated. I am now considering turning it into a piece of poetry, as I really like the premise/ imagery, but I wonder if I might first ask for you guys to tell me whether or not you know what is going on here. If someone can tell me what the narrator is, I might just have crafted a “puzzle piece” of sorts and maybe I simply had bad luck with the group I have already shared it with. Please let me know! I’ll post a comment in a day or two delineating what my actual aim was.
I fall out of a silver needle womb of deep black onto a void of flesh, and become alive. My tail is the first pain I awaken to as it unfurls with feathers. Dark liquid feathers that seem at first severe prickling quills, but as they dry, so delicate. I wonder what I am? Wings sprout from my back, splitting from my shoulder so violently that someone far away from the carnage begins to weep. They stretch out and up in one enormous flap that pulls me, finally into being.
My head is so small, but my eyes are alert to the world, I look back on my body of fragile feathers, my toothpick legs, the toes curled like a baby’s tight fist. The most beautiful thing about me is my plainness. I am small, and brown and of little consequence to so many people, but up close I am a Darwinian marvel of exacting strokes of genius. A shock hits my system as silence ensues, I had known nothing but a buzzing drone, so I could not differentiate the vibration from perfect quiet. Something has stopped, but I begin.
I have maverick eyes, bright and quick with which to take in the world. Outside there is a small table with a bench, and there below, is a little brown bird, skipping over cracks to reach whatever crumbs lie scattered across the concrete. I know instinctively to call out, but I am a mute. How can this be? A bird without song. I strain again, my beak won’t even open, it is fixed shut with an artistic permanence. My wings may flex and twist, but they do so with pain, and never again from that first fateful opening of my birth will they move, to grant me flight. Silent, immobile, lonely bird, I am misery.
Made of pain and ink, I am as the cormorant in the oil spill, but like a vampire I am bound to endure immortal. I cannot suffocate because I never breathe, I simply exist to watch. My days draw out and my body becomes my cage, like a vegetable in a hospital bed, wishing someone would unplug me. I am covered by beautiful sheets of varying pattern and hue throughout each day, only uncovered at night. My life is a blind fog. Until today.
Today I got into a car, I was uncovered so I could see the sky as we drove, beautiful puffy clouds, I felt like I was finally flying, pure bliss. The window was down and so I imagined the wind moving at my whim over the avian contours of my body. A rolling stop, we entered a house. It was an old house filled with dolls, I felt suffocated again, An elderly voice dipped and pitched wildly in the air and soft sobbing shook my anatomy with irregular beats. I was covered again, and back into the car, I could feel the wind, I wanted the sky.
When we entered the clinic I could tell immediately that I did not belong there. This was a place for illness and death, and I was constant, permanent. They peeled back my cover in a little white room and I looked up at the masked faces, they poked me and covered me with a film of heat. My eyes were floating down into myself and I felt sleep. I dreamed of flying while my tail was burned slowly off of my body. I dreamed of song as they detached my wings like a toddler with a bug. I dreamed of freedom as my body, my legs and my head were singed into ash.
When my small soul was finally erased, and the dreaming stopped, only a girl was left, naked and burned, scarred by my existence.