The Bird Oracle

Reads: 66  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: Katsiaryna-Endruszkiewicz on Unsplash.

The Bird Oracle

I wasn’t a prisoner, was I? As day followed day, week followed week and countless months went by, that was exactly what I seemed to be.

Not that I was denied any of the basic comforts. So long as I stayed home, did what I was told, and most important of all, saw no one, I was treated with consideration. And when he saw how lonely I was becoming he brought me a companion.

The bird should never have been caged. I knew that as soon as I saw it. My window did not open and I had no access to a door, so I did what I could. When we were alone, I opened the cage door and let it fly freely within my room.

The bird sang such a sad song. Slowly she came to trust me, and we offered each other the little bit of comfort that we could. I would stroke her feathered head and she would perch on my shoulder, her body pressed against the side of my face, but then he found out and things had to change.

He did not often beat me, but he did then, after I had coaxed the bird back inside her cage. He warned me not to let her fly free, and for a few days I didn’t. Her singing stopped, and although she had not been physically hurt she felt the pain.

I needed to be more careful. Whenever I saw him drive away I let her out, but it was not the same. She would not sing a single note no matter how much I tried to encourage her. My bird companion refused to eat and she became weaker and weaker. We were united in our misery, dying a slow death.

My only friend was fading away, and so was my will to live. Perhaps it was for her that I dared to try the door. It was not locked. I returned to my room and picked up the cage then crept to the door, terrified that I would be discovered even though I knew he was not there. And then I ran, only stopping when I was hidden from the house should he return.

The bird would be my oracle. I would open the door and let her choose whether to escape or to stay. Whichever she picked, I would copy, no matter how frightened I felt.

My hands shook as I reached for the door, undid the catch and left it wide open. She hopped towards the door, then moved away from it again. I could see her trembling, feel her fear. The poor thing did not know what to do, just like me.

The bird flew around the cage in agitation, several times moving just outside its bars. And then she dropped.

I cried out for I could see her sightless eyes. Rather than choose between freedom and captivity, she had chosen death. The bird was my oracle and I would follow her example.


Submitted: November 29, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mike S.

Not very uplifting, by fine tale none-the less, Hull-

Sun, November 29th, 2020 6:53pm

Author
Reply

No, it's a melancholy day. Thanks, Mike.

Sun, November 29th, 2020 11:05am

moa rider

The natural world can bring solace Mama Hullabaloo. My mate has a large aviary with maybe 20 canaries. The sing beautifully and have chicks so they must be happy... just the same caged birds don't gel with my sense of nature. Usianguke

Sun, November 29th, 2020 10:40pm

Author
Reply

I guess a lot of canaries have never known anything different. The bird in this story was supposed to have been caught in the wild and then caged - I didn't get as far as thinking up a species which maybe I should have done.
Thanks, Moa.

Tue, December 1st, 2020 11:21am

More Flash Fiction Short Stories