Okay, well here's my story pick for this week. I've enjoyed reading all the stories, and once again had a hard time picking. I'll be talking about all the stories in the "Thursday wrap-up" when it comes time to post that. But anyway...today's choice really struck me not only because of the intriguing theme - I've never seen Hitchcock's The Birds but I've heard it's enough to make people scared of birds. Well, maybe this story does the same thing. LOL - but also because of Madeline's interesting choice of words. As she mentioned on her blog, this story has elements of the mythic. It definitely put strong images in my mind. And hey, I love birds but I don't know if I'd wanna meet these guys. Haha.
The original posting of the story can be found here.
The Truth Behind The Smile...
The truth behind the smile hid somewhere below the heavens, and far below hell. Its story came from my people, Sparrows. We hid behind feathers as black as guilty blood and beaks so long they shattered the devil’s laugh that rung above us. We had the bodies of people, the wings and beaks of birds, and the hearts of demons. Our smoldered minds were demented, only capable of grasping evil, and we rolled in our own ruin.
We fought amongst themselves. We were seekers of pain and turmoil, and received no less. Numbed by the worst felonies, we hungered for something even stronger than death. The devil himself feared us. Once a crime bad enough was committed, a new Sparrow would be born. Sin was what we were. We were worse than hell itself.
I was the child of cannibalism. Once my mother had sunk her teeth into the fresh flesh of another Sparrow, I was created. I took no pride in my people. I hated myself, and myself hated me. There was a nuclear war always brimming on my insides. My eyes were the deepest hue of bitter black. My veins held nothing but intense crime. A disturbing taste always rested on my tongue, and in the deepest parts of the universe, there was no water to quench the fire and rid the taste.
I couldn’t escape the hell. My insides were caged. So many times I had tried but failed. I knew what we were. We tasted like spiders and deadly gases. Poison filled our hollow insides and surged in us.***** **** *** ** * ** * ** **** *****
It was dark. Chains rattled around my ankles and wings. Thousands of beady black eyes were on me. I tried to show no concern to the situation. There was whispering around the table, discussing my punishment.. They wanted to do away with me, and I did nothing wrong except the right thing.
“Jack,” a razor sharp voice cut into my ears and purposely drilled a hole right into my brain. I could feel my mind slowly leak toxins.
I looked up. “Yes?” I replied.
“We know what we’re doing with you.”
“Do you?” I said, my voice filled with mockery.
“We do,” Marson shot back.
I couldn’t tell if he was annoyed by me anymore. He was silent.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Couran look at Marson. He took a deep breath before I could become too sure of myself. I knew I was too nasty to kill, I knew I’d be able to keep my life. The threat that danced on the eyes of others didn’t scare me.
“You’re banished,” Couran said.
“Banished?” I asked, trying to keep from laughing at them. I was excited to leave.
“Not before your torture,” Neck said. I should have been scared. I should have been petrified, but I didn't feel any fear. I was almost amused.
“Torture?” I asked, still laughing at them.
“I wouldn’t say that’s the correct word for the amount of pain you’re about to suffer, Jack,” Marson taunted after finding his voice. I saw flames echo on the edges of his mouth and I cringed.
“What do you think about that?” Couran said, not wanting to let an opportunity to make me look like a fool slip through his feathered fingers.
I was too numbed to think.
“Torture?” I asked once more, my derision gone.
“Well of course. After we get a good dozen amount of sins from your punishment, we’ll send you off.”
“Dozen?” I couldn’t stop asking questions. I felt everything harden. They wanted to create Sparrows off of my pain. I felt the corner of my right eye twitch. My temples were pounding with enormous amounts of bird blood rushing into my head, screaming at me to run. I tried to ignore everything.
“You wouldn't,” I protested. I closed my eyes. I heard something shatter.
It felt like a hundred years, and I couldn’t believe I wasn’t gone yet when someone spoke again.
“Why wouldn’t we?”***** **** *** ** * ** * ** **** *****
The deep darkness seemed to murder everyone who stepped in it’s path. The air burned the deep gashes up my arms and seemed to melt my exposed bone. Demonic pain ate away at my insides and I felt my temper flare. But I couldn’t fight back. My tongue was swelled and pushed itself far into the back of my throat. My head hung on the rusty hinges of my feathered neck as I tried to look up and see through blood shot eyes.
I heard whispers, or perhaps it was the inside of my bruised and intoxicated brain screaming. I wanted to scream at someone, but I couldn’t. I was too excited for words.
Silence swam around furiously amongst the people waiting to watch my condemning.
I looked to my left, only to be blinding by light. I could see thousands of Sparrows gathered around each other trying to look away from the gaping hole in the ashes. I was surprised there had been no outbreak of murder yet as they all huddled together in endless fear of the better. They had all come to watch me drown in my own sorrow.
“Well?” Asked someone impatiently. I winced. I was only hoping for the best of scenarios. I didn’t want to implode upon exposure to light. I didn’t want to collide with some unknown force splintering into thousands of pieces. I didn’t want my insides to capsize under the intense gravitational pull. Obviously some Sparrows did.
Couran held up a wing. “Wait,” he replied, aggravated. “Just wait.”
Neck walked up to me, a giant smirk crawled across his face as he laughed at what they had done to me. He got as close as I would allow. “Good bye Jack,” he whispered maliciously in my ear. I quickly jerked away and felt my brain rattle in my head. I nodded as he walked away.
I looked up into the light, the tunnel slim and narrow. I sighed. The air wrestled with my lungs before clawing it’s way up my throat. I tried to swallow it back down before choking once more. I wiped the spots of blood off the side of my beak.
I could hear laughing. Intense disdain danced around the atmosphere and filled my head. I didn’t think I could do it, but I knew anything had to be better. Even death would be better. Any place was better than here.
My wings were heavy and covered in a slimy substances that seemed to glow in the darkness. Slowly I lifted them, waving them slightly, trying to fight against the air.
The corners of my mouth were the first thing to take off.
The rest of me soon followed.