Of the Featherless Tribe

Jul 23, 2013 by

Feather_Study_by_Phoenix_CryVarrok of the Sun Stone, speaker of the Skies was old. He could feel age creep upon him in his hollow bones. Though the sun shone above him and the clouds whispered a sweet day as winds ruffled the long grass of the plains around his gathered people; their moods were sour. Their beaks and eyes dark. He stood upon the stone with the Speaking Staff clutched firmly in his talons. When he raised his foot to tap it to the stone to signify the beginning of his judgement, it was most usually a means to silence the crowd. Today, the sound rolled over the silence of them all and reminded him of the plains thunder before a storm.
“We are one mind, one feather, one flock,” he began, the words so old none could say when they began. They simply where. The crowd solemnly repeated them.
“I have called you today to pass Tarro’kar, judgment upon one of us. One of us has done something that is not Amushor. One of us is no longer part of the flock. He has done unclean things–”
“Father!” A shout from his left and behind him. Wearily he closed his eyes against the image of his son, bright blue feathers with gold trappings stripped being drug by guardtalons. He did not want to see it, but he would.
“Silence when the Speaker sings!’ He cried, hearing his call cut like sharpened stone.
“Father, please! Just listen to me–they’re not evil! Please, father! We love each other! We did nothing wrong–”
“You will be silent or I will have you silenced!” He opened his eyes and swiveled his head around over his back, shouting the words. In threat, he lowered his crest and body to the ground, opening his beak half way to hiss dangerously. His son shut his beak with a soft clack and lowered his head in submission. The guards drug him before the crowd and he shook himself and his feathers back in place as he sent his eyes out over the gathering instead. It hurt less when he did not look at his son.
“For the crime of betraying his flock, his people, for the crime of being with a Featherless One, I reject you.” He intoned. Then, in symbolic rejection, his talons clicked softly on the stone as he turned to present his back to his son. He heard the thousand quiet clicks of his people do the same–turning their back on his son. My son, who should be standing on this stone and not me.
“We do not see you in the skies. We do not hear your song. We do not tap your names in the ringing stones. You are no longer.”
He heard the sound of his son sobbing as they took him away. At first it was loud: as loud as the lack of wind that had suddenly stilled. As loud as the tears of his wife, who buried her head under her wing and tried to muffle it. As loud as his heart, limping away in his chest. Then as he was drug away the sound grew further and further away. He wanted to turn and watch his only hatchling that survived, go. His only child. His only son.
He wanted to take him under wing and preen him. He wanted his wife to no longer weep.
As the sound of his son sobbing faded, so too did his hope for an heir for his people. He cursed his son. He cursed the gods. And he cursed himself.
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Heart Click

Jul 6, 2013 by

She can hear the clicking. Maybe it’s not a clicking but more of a hum of the escalator behind her. She’s staring at the text but not really seeing it. Not yet. A little girl and a little boy with their father squeal and laugh at something as they pass her by in a blur. A woman on her phone comments about the price of coffee. A man holds the hand of his boyfriend and complains about the cold. She can hear their footsteps hitting the tile, hitting the escalator. Hitting the pavement. A car honks distantly from above and she thinks that if she could just hold her breath a little longer she might hear the sound pigeons make when they are all startled to take off at once.
The screen is the eye of Mordor but she doesn’t have a ring and Sam’s given up on Frodo and she can’t breathe. She can’t.
Back from doctors, it read. Then, It’s cancer. –Mom.
She always signed her texts. It didn’t matter how many times she’d patiently sit her down with the phone and show her that each one came with her name at the very top, see? There was no need to sign it. She knew who they were from.
A little bar beneath the words urged her to type text here. A cursor blinked.
The world idly kept on turning but she’s still. She’s so still. Everything is still.
Cancer.
The word is the taste of ashtrays in her mouth and in her mind.
She can hear the clicking. Maybe it’s not a clicking but more of the wail of a little girl alone in the subway with her mother in her heart.
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Crow

Jun 29, 2013 by

SONY DSC“I can see why they named you Crow,” said, while he reached with sticky hands to smooth back her black hair. Straight, glossy-clean, soft as things he had no names for (because in his world, soft was not a part of it.)
“Though you didn’t caw in time to save any buffalo, did you? No, not even once to save yourself,” chewing thoughtfully, he pulled a small bone from between his teeth and gestured with it as he spoke.
“Do you know that legend?” He tossed the gnawed bone over his shoulder and waited. “The legend of how Crow came to be black?” She didn’t answer; dark brown eyes stared past him. It wormed in his belly a moment to become a small fire of anger–women and their eyes. They always had a talent for cutting you with them in a single, dismissive rake.
He leaned forward and shoved the tip of his thumb between bone and lower lid. A sharp small movement with enough force that prised the eyeball out of her socket in wet, squishing—pop– release. He raised it, twisting it right as well as left to stare at it thoughtfully.
“Perhaps if you are a good girl, I’ll tell you one day.” He grinned, slipping her eye between smiling lips.
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