The Blackbird

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

This is a story that delves deep into the unknown with a man that is suffering the loss of his sister in an airline disaster in 1992.

Melinda sees a blackbird on the top of her car when she came out of her apartment center at 7:37 in the morning. She needs to get on the earliest flight possible so she can arrive at Tokyo tonight for the scheduled meeting about conglomeration the next morning. Melinda does not have a moment to lose when the blackbird sat on the top of the car, looking at her when she thought that has to be the biggest blackbird that she had ever seen with a wingspan of about two and a half feet. Melinda looked at the sheer color of the blackbird with no friction on the felt of its wings when the sun is hitting the frost covered windows of her Chevy Citation that she had for about two years.

The year is 1992 and Melinda is 27 years old when she remembered the blackbird that she had seen on that cold, chilly day in Detroit. She is a marketing advisor by trade and she does a damn good job at it as well when the blackbird just looked at her, surveying the human that came out of the building with its eyes that are colored in the tender cool feeling of brown that almost looks human when the blackbird just perched there on the top of the Chevy Citation.

“What the hell are you looking at?” She spoke to the bird when the bird flew off the top of the Citation that is starting to show bits of rust on the wheel wells. The odometer for the engine is almost 150K so it will be in due-time that she will need to find a replacement vehicle in two years or less when she walked to the car, unlocking the door with the key when she started the engine to warm up.

This is a time before the moderate use of cell phones and remote car starters and satellite television. This is the time before internet became something that is taken for granted by many people that propagate their personal goals – good or bad to the masses of people that are willing to listen. It is the time for phone booths, newspapers, and talking to people over the phone when technology was still in the stages of being analog and primitive, only controlled by the operations of clicks, beeps, and radio waves that are connected physically by physical compartments that serve their purpose. Melinda is 27 on this day when she drove to the airport with all of her belongings in the car when she left her lighter in the cab of the car when she left the car in the rental stalls when at the time it pays only $3.99 per week to park a car at the airport. The car stayed there when it happened and stayed there for about three weeks before her brother retrieved the Citation by the papers that are anointed by the order of the courts to retrieve the vehicle that was once owned by (1) Melinda Carter who died on American Airlines Flight 185.

Her remains are never found when the wreckage was found in the Indian Ocean in 1997 when Melinda’s eldest brother turned 45 when he felt like time is getting away from him when his eldest son is grown and his two daughters are hitting their teenage years when he thought about her kid sister from time to time, feeling uneasy that something like a plane crash can change the course of life for people that were just on ordinary circumstances of just getting things done.

Melinda had never met Frank’s children when Frank felt heartbroken as he tried to speak to them about Melinda when Frank realized that there was nothing too much to explain about Melinda’s life. Melinda was always a workaholic and Frank never seen her too much when Melinda died with no love in her life and no children. Frank did not explain about Melinda too much when mother calls from time to time, only for them both to get into fights about the life insurance money that mother blew for these lavish trips all over the world with random men that Frank never met. They always get into it when they both try to hide it from the children when it got so nasty that they both hung up by not saying goodbye. Frank is living a comfortable life in Colorado when Mom is still living in Chicago on the poor side which made Frank a little nervous since he knew about the neighborhood. Frank rubbed his hands together when he went out on the patio and watched the distance of The Rockies when he can see the snowcaps on them and smiled at the majestic beauty of The Rockies. It is 1997 when in time before the planes hit two buildings in New York that caused a war that lasted for two decades that destabilized the Middle East more than it was before 2001. It is before the Great Recession when many people that work the Fortune 500 lost their jobs overnight and the blue-collar workers lost their homes and were living in recreational vehicles, riding around the countryside in search for jobs like a 21st century wagon train caravan. It was the time before Bernie Madoff ripped thousands of people off like the evil tyrant that he is and died in prison. It is before Donald Trump amassed a ruse to persuade a political party representing a fraction of people to believe in lies over truths that destabilized a nation until this very course of now. It is before the pandemic of the 21st century that claimed the lives of millions of people and is still taking lives of the people in Brazil, India, and the United Kingdom.

It is the time of now when Frank is in his 70’s now and his children have moved away. Frank is grey now with his hair gone on the top of his head. Mother died over fifteen years ago and Melinda is not even a faded memory but myth in the time when the 90’s are dead and dust and everything that came to pass is like an ultimate hate train that is barreling towards the finish line of chaos central. Frank went in for his monthly check up when the doctor once again talked about his drinking. They already put a stint in his heart when the doctor told him that it will plug up again in ten plus years when Frank did not listen as he continued drinking Miller’s that he bought from the cornerstone grocery. Frank did not work anymore when he overlooked The Rockies that are still the same for as long as he can remember. His legs started to go a year before his retirement when he is now sitting around the house like an invalid, not doing a damn thing when he is waiting to die in this house with the walls closing in like a tree that is constraining itself.  He watched television from time to time when he wondered about what happened to most of the news anchors that he used to watch? What happened to the world that is moving too damn fast when the commercials are talking about digital streaming platforms that makes him wonder about all the pluses that are behind the names of companies that have been around for a long time?

The news is getting worse and these entertainment industries are asking for more money. Frank laughed at the thought when he looked at his front door from time to time, wondering when someone is going to show up, robs his house, and shoot him in the head just for fun. He wondered when he has not talked to his children in a couple of months since this whole isolation situation of the pandemic started. He cannot go to the bar. He has been hearing about everything that is going on from a nutcase that once-was President and is now hearing it from an Old-As-Fuck President that is trying to put a foot down on a dragon that is already let loose from a castle. All he does is try to get things done around the house when his legs start to go and he cannot walk anymore. Frank just sits in a chair and watches reruns on television, drinking beer and waiting one night to go to sleep and not wake up again when in time it will happen.

Thank god it will happen. Frank smiled when he continues to fan through the television when something landed on the sill of his window that looks out the living room. Frank looked in that direction when he continued to drink in silence when a tapping came upon the window as Frank looked at the closed blinds again. Frank found the energy to get up when he pulled back the blinds of the window as he looked at the dark figment that is on the other side of the window. Frank could not make it out when he looked for a couple of seconds, knowing that his night vision is failing him when he pushed the blinds back over and sat back down in the chair again, feeling the pops in his knees when one of them hurt when they popped. He realized that his beer is almost empty when he crushed it and dropped it into the trashcan that is next to him when he can feel the wave of drunkenness come on. He looked at the trashcan and noticed that it is three quarters of the way full when he got up to get another beer that is in the fridge.

The tapping came at the window again when Frank heard it but did not do a damn thing about it.

Fuck whatever it is out there. Frank muttered when he opened the fridge door in the kitchen to grab another Miller that is in the crisp drawer. He closed the door and hobbled back into the living room, sitting down and twisting off the cap when he savored the taste of beer suds pouring down his throat.

The tapping on the window happened again when he wondered about a rogue tree branch touching the glass of his window when he moved in the chair a little, wondering that tomorrow he will get the branch loppers and go out there to give the branches a piece of his mind. That will settle the deal when the tapping did not sound inanimate somehow. It sounded like something is doing it on purpose when Frank started to feel that is anger is going full bore.

That son of a bitch is going to drive me insane. Frank thought with bitterness, so bitter that a man would go in great lengths to get rid of that sound that is driving him insane. He is not a young man anymore and he has been alone in this house for over a year now. Frank had already had a nervous breakdown that he had not spoken with his family about it when he only slept for three days straight, waking up in the middle of the second day with the sun pouring on his face. He got up when his knee got the best of him, sitting back down with his eyes looking at the wall that is looking blurry and tired that is coming back at him. Frank got the energy to get back up to close the blinds in the room when he came back to bed and slept until the sun is on the eastern lands, dancing on the tips of The Rockies that are still cold for thousands of years that the lands erected them to be. Frank heard the sound of cars running up and down the road behind him when he considered on having a beer when he also thought that he needed to lay off the shit for a while. The wind started to blow when he felt warmth in that wind when it took him almost a year to get his mind in working condition again.

That is when the pandemic started and he started to feel the walls of isolation come onto him like a blanket when he tried his best not to go out into the world which is getting crazier and crazier by the year of 2020. That is when he felt more obligated to stay at home when he worked around his house, being that of the tired old boy that he is when working only two hours almost catches up with him and then he winds up sleeping the rest of the night away. Frank goes to the store from time to time to get what he needs when he comes on home and watches television until he goes to bed at nine o’clock in the evening. He gets back up at three o’clock in the morning when he does not have a light shining in his window when he goes back into the living room to turn on the television when Frank thinks to himself: I want to die. I want to die and get this life over with. I called my kids but they do not call me back.

Frank sits in his chair and waits.

The news on the television says that it is getting better when Frank is getting worse. The vaccinations started when Frank went to buy a gun. The vaccinations counts of people that are vaccinated are getting better when Frank kept a .357 bullet in his front breast pocket when now he is hearing the sound of something that is knocking on his window with the blinds pulled yet again. The rap, rap, rapping rattled on when Frank got the nerve to get up and investigate yet again when the clock on the wall reads 8:03 in the evening. Frank pulled the blinds when he did not see anything with his eyes failing him. He looked for six seconds when he pulled the blinds again and sat back down in the living room chair that he had owned for as long as he can remember. The television is playing off an old Magnum P.I. rerun with Tom Sellek trying to solve another case with Winston being the helpful sort that he is. Frank could not remember these episodes too much when he remembered watching the finale of M*A*S*H in 1983 when Hawkeye finally comes to terms about what happened on the bus that drove him to another mental breakdown. Frank cried when he saw the last scene of the entire show when there had been no show like any other until he watched Breaking Bad a few years back.

Frank remembered every single episode of M*A*S*H but Magnum P.I. and Breaking Bad he does not remember when Frank did not hear any tapping on his window for the rest of the night. Frank went to bed at nine thirty in the evening when he slept until morning. He got up out of bed and felt no pains in his knees for once when he went to get some breakfast which is three eggs, four rashers of bacon, some bread to dip it into the yoke, and a glass of orange juice. He called the local health center to arrange an appointment for his 1st vaccination when he made a day of it and did a little outside work for a change. He cut wood for forty five minutes. He gathered the wood and filled up the wood box. He tinkered on the lawnmower (taking the blades off the PTO and sharpening them, bolting them back into the PTO) and checking the oil. He changed the oil in his Dodge Ram 3500 Duel Cab when he went to town to fill it up on diesel. He did not realize that when he got it all done it is four o’clock in the evening and he is tired as hell.

Then again Frank Carter is not a young man anymore when he went to sleep early that night at six o’clock in the evening with no dreams that came to him but with the exception of one that he cannot remember. He sat on the patio, looking at The Colorado Rockies in the distance when snow started to fall upon the land. It is warm though when there is no jacket on his chest when he looked beside him, seeing Melinda sitting there like the last time he had seen her since she was alive like time did not touch her. He wanted to say something when Jeannie came up the steps, wanting to play catch when Frank looked at his hands and noticed that they are wrinkled and old with age. Frank did not change in this dream when Melinda remembered about playing catch with dad when she relayed it to Frank when Frank turned and saw her just looking like the last time he had seen her in 1992. When Frank turned his children were not there anymore when the snow was on the ground in an accumulation of about six inches deep. Frank is not cold though when he sat there, not seeing Melinda anymore when he is sitting there on his patio chair with the wind picking up, blowing the wind to the point where the light snow danced on the top of the mounds of snow, looking like white mists that dance on the dunes in the desert that is slightly far from a place where a desert does not exist.

Frank did not feel cold when he wakes up with two blankets on his body and no lights coming from the window that serves the outside elements that change along with the seasons. He dared not to look at the alarm clock on his bedside when he wondered about having the damn thing on his bedside when he has not used it for a very long time now. He did not want to look at the alarm clock on his bedside when Frank went to sleep again until he heard the rapping on his window that woke him up again. Frank opened his eyes with his mind still asleep when he look towards the window to the rapping that is happening that is upon the window when he got up, not feeling the pressure on his knees but in his back when he winced at the pressure in his back. He hobbled over to the window and pulled the curtains when he did not see anything with his night vision being totally shot.

“What the fuck is that?” He whispered in the comfortable silence of his bedroom. He looked out his window some more before he pulled the curtains, coming towards the warmth of his bed sheets when the rapping on the window rapped three consecutive times again. Frank stopped in his tracks and looked at the window again when he moved away from the bed to get the wrap-around flashlight that is in the drawer of the desk in his living room. He turned it on to make sure that it is in working condition when he came back into the bedroom when he turned it on and looked through the dirty window.

What Frank saw is a blackbird. It has to be the biggest blackbird he had ever seen with a wingspan of about three feet when it turned its head slightly to look through the window, looking at Frank in the eyes when it just perched there with nothing but the sort to just sit there and look at him. Frank dropped the curtain and looked at the floor of his bedroom when he just stood there when the blackbird outside started to rap on the window.

What do you want from me? Then he realized that the bird outside is outside – at night when the warmth drained from his face.

What do you want from me? Frank thought when he looked at the window with the curtain pulled when he left the bedroom and walked into the hallway. It is dark. So dark that he cannot see his hand in front of his face even if he pulled it up to look at it when he dropped it down on his side. That is when he heard something rustle in the kitchen when a light came on in the room.

Frank backed up a little when his heart leaped in his chest when he looked into the living room on where his .357 is at when he moved as fast as possible to retrieve it. He grabbed it and opened the gun, making sure that it is loaded when he closed the chamber wheel and came back into the hallway.

“Whoever is in there I have a gun and I will it!” He warned the person that is in the kitchen when nothing happened in the kitchen, not even a rustle of something that is there.

“You get your ass out of my house before I put two in your lungs and one in your computer.” He raised the gun, cocking the hammer back when he took courage to go into the kitchen when someone is sitting at the table. He did not know who it is when the person that is sitting there has a cassock around their body with a hood upon it, concealed from the light when he noticed the black gloves that are upon it. The body is sleek and small – not a man, Frank wondered when he came into the kitchen with the gun pointed at possibly her.

“Whatever food I have you can take it and get out.” Frank told this person that is sitting at the table.

“If you come back here then this will be your final warning.” He notioned at the gun in his hand when the head rose that is filled with darkness, not seeing any light upon that face when the voice spoke.

“You’ve gotten old, Frank.” The voice which is a woman spoke in the kitchen when she looked at the chair that is across from the table.

“Sit, Frank.” She said.

“We have a lot to discuss.”

Frank looked at this woman for a while when he came into the kitchen with his right knee hurting. He still has the .357 in his hand when he came to the back of the chair that is across from her.

“How the hell do you know my name?” Frank asked her when she looked up with her face still cloaked in black.

“I know your name. We came from the same.” That is all she said.

“Now sit please. We have something to discuss.” Frank looked around the room when Frank did what he is told as he sat down, moving the robe around his body when Frank looked at her.

“Why you are in my house?”

“To warn you of a possible, unfathomable presence that is coming.” She started to move her hands on the table when she pulled one glove off on her left hand and then pulled the other glove off of her right hand. What was on her right hand is a brand that is garnished in the numbers 185 on the top of her hand. She placed her hand down on the table when Frank cocked his head when horror filled up in his head.

“My god,” Frank whispered.

“You can’t be. She is dead.” Frank moved back a little from the table.

“I am dead and I am here to give you a message.” She moved her hands ever so slowly when she pulled the hood of the cassock off of the top of her head.

Jesus Christ on the Holy Cross her face is stitched. Frank looked at the pale complexion of his sister that is sitting across the table. She did not age when he can see the whiteness of death on her skin, looking like she had been undead for a very long time when her hair is still the color of black, coursed with the Italian heritage that is in our blood.

“It has been a long time, brother.” Melinda said in the kitchen with the brightness burning in the bulbs as Frank did not realize that the switches that turn on those lights are not flicked on.

“No, this has to be a dream.”

“You’re not dreaming but I wish I was dreaming forever.” Melinda said when she did not say anything for a couple of seconds before she looked around the room.

“House still looks the same but the world has got into an awful damn hurry.” She looked at him in the eyes again when Hank started to sweat on the other side of the table.

“Then again…” Frank licked his lips, noticing that they are a little chapped from his constant bear drinking binge that he has been doing for the past few years now. He has not seen a doctor in a long time and he is long overdue for a checkup. His mind though. Is his old age playing tricks on his mind? Is this the start of some dementia that he does not know? Frank can only ascertain that he is seeing this in his mind that is creeping up past old age into the gray matter that intends insanity.

“You know that Jeannie and Abby are grown up now?” Melinda’s face went from a distant blank to some sort of emotion in her expression that is breaking to sorrow.

“Really? I forgot about your daughters. Are they going to college?”

“Abby went to college to be an attorney and Jeannie did not want to go. She has no interest in it.” Frank found the courage to sit down, putting the .357 on the table when he sat down, looking at Melinda in the light when there is no light within that pale complexion that is starring back at him.

“How did you get here?” Frank asked when Melinda amassed a confused look upon her face.

“To tell the truth I was in the catacombs of someplace that has no name. There were a bunch of lanterns hanging on iron ringlets and there were some people in cages looking out at us. We were all wearing these and that is all that He gives us in the rite of passage.”

Frank narrowed his eyes, trying to think what is going on when he cannot make sense of this at all.

“I don’t understand what you are saying?” Frank added into this confusion of where she is literally coming from when Melinda looked into his gaze.

“That is why I am here to warn you that something really bad is coming from the depths of someplace that I cannot remember or see or taste or touch. This place is not in the sky or this place is not in the ocean.” She cocked her head, wondering what to say next could be the truth.

“It might be in a place that could be below our feet.”

Fred started to sweat, feeling like he is going to have a heart attack at a moment’s notice if someone creeps on him by just scarring him.

“But you died on AA Flight 185.” Frank talked like she did not know what happened to her in her past life when Melinda tried to understand and did when she tried to remember bits and pieces of her last life but she is getting cut by the jagged pieces that have littered her mind like glass.

“I know I am dead but I do not know the date of when I died when I got onto that plane and the rest of it is poised in shadow.” Melinda raised her hand and pointed it at her only brother.

“I do remember you though and that is gracious enough.” Melinda dropped her hand onto the table when she remembered the charts, figures, diagrams, and artifacts from the deceased oceanographer who is also a scientist in the deepest dungeon that was only his cell. His name was Joseph and his tale before his death is clouded in mystery as well. Only his research is the door to what his life was before his death in the catacombs of the unknown in the deep.

“What are you trying warn me, Melinda?” Frank asked when Melinda looked at him in the eyes with no emotion in them.

“Whatever it is it is coming and it will be the end for this world when it does. Whoever sees it will cause great despair on harm on other people as it muddles their mind towards the point of intellectual insanity. Societies that have been built for centuries will crumble in a matter of day. Governments will turn on each other and the halls that govern will be splayed in blood. The flags of nations will burn in the hottest fires ever imagined and ideologies will be lain in dust – nothing more and nothing less.”

“Why are you saying these things to me?” Frank looked at her in the eyes when Melinda smiles.

“I love you and I do not know what is coming and I do not know His name. It is not the devil but something that had been here before the dawn of man, birthed when the star was created that is now the sun in the sky. It was put together by the dust from space when this galaxy was formed.” Melinda stopped when she looked around the kitchen.

“Can I have a glass of water?” She asked when Frank did not procrastinate when he got up, procuring the glass from the strainer and making sure that it is clean. He poured a full glass of water from the tap when he came around the countertop, giving her the glass when he did not want to touch her skin. He sat down with the .357 still on the table when he crossed his hands.

Melinda downed the glass.

“God,” She licked her lips, savoring its sweet taste.

“It has been a long time since I had a good glass of water.”

“This is all too much for me to handle.” Frank spoke with his mind going in many directions.

“Why are you telling me this?”

“I already told you and there is nothing that can be done.” Melinda moved back into the chair.

“There is a sickness going on under the ground and it is going to come out of the ground, rebirthing itself to the earth from whence it came. We tried to keep it silent but it does not want to be silent any longer.” Melinda looked at the ceiling with her hood bunched up on her shoulders. She rubbed her eyes and then looked at Frank again.

“You remember when I was four years old and you were ten? You remember that time in the park when the flowers are blooming and we caught that toad beside the sidewalk. It was a Saturday when we did not think about responsibilities or anything else. We just thought about the freedom of the day with our minds cleansed and fresh.”

Frank remembered the many times we went to the park when Frank nodded his head. He does not remember that particular day in the park but he did remember them going to that park in Wisconsin.

“What happened to just talking to each other? We grew up and moved away. We never talked to each too much as I only called you during Christmas, birthdays, or Easters. You became a ghost on the phone and I worked to the point that I became a ghost of just being alive.” Melinda stopped talking when she looked down into Frank’s eyes.

“I was dead before I was dead.” She giggled in the bold of the light when Frank started to become a little uneasy by the way she is acting.

“I do remember something like…a blackbird that was on the wing of the plane before the engines failed. It started to dive into the engine when everyone in the cab of the airplane was screaming bloody murder. The blackbird still held onto the wing of the plane when I felt my heart leap in my chest with my life flashing before my eyes. It spread its wings before I could not remember anything else.” Melinda looked at the wall of the kitchen that is besides her.

“That is when I woke up in the catacombs with other people that were hovering around me. Their faces are familiar though when I remembered that they are the faces that are upon the plane.” Melinda looked back at Frank with emotion and feeling in her eyes now.

“I am starting to remember everything now since I am away from His power. He will know that I am here with you and he will find a way inside my mind in due time.” Melinda got up from the chair when Frank felt the rash of his mind running in a thousand different directions. Frank got up with his knees not bothering him.

“Where are you going?” Frank tried not to touch her when she walked into the hallway where there is no light.

“I have to get out of here before He takes control over me and I don’t know what he will do after that.” Melinda sauntered into the darkness when Frank came into the hallway with his mind rambling onto one thought.

The light switch is at the other end of the hallway. Frank stopped in horror when all he can hear is the sound of footfalls in the darkness of the hallways. Then the footfalls stopped when Melina’s breathing calmed down into nothing when her body did not move.

“This little bird has been speaking too much.” Melinda’s voice quivered in the darkness of the hallways, echoing back into Frank’s aging ears.

“She has been speaking too much indeed.” In the darkness her body turned towards Frank.

Frank retreated back into the kitchen like a frightened cat. He looked at the gun on the table when Melinda’s voice did not sound like Melinda’s voice at all but the voice of a male and female both intertwined in those vocal cords.

“Did she speak of my life’s work? Did she? I told her not to speak of such a thing!” Melinda/The Unknown giggled in the darkness of the hallway when something shifted in the darkness when Frank retreated to where the gun is upon the table. Little did he know that Dawn is slowly breaking over the land when he grabbed the gun and pointed it towards the hallway when Melinda came back into the light?

Melinda’s face is changing into the face of a monster that is in front of him now. The face is pointed in sharp fangs with eyes that are white as snow but as hotter than the evils of devils that could possess a human if veered into the eyes for far too long. She walked ever so slow when Melinda spoke this last sentence before she tried to kill Frank.

“You’re nothing but another snake in the pit that needs to be speared into dust.” This thing that is no longer Melinda crept foreword when Frank took all of his energy to pick up the gun and point it at what remains of his sister.

Dawn came over the land three hours ago when Frank sat in the living room with a mound of dust in the hallway. The bullet holes are in the walls of the hallway when Frank took the empty cartridges out of the gun and threw them into the woods where they cannot be found. This did happen when he did not go to sleep or tried to wake himself up by pinching his forearm. This did happen when there was a sound of rapping on his window an hour ago.

He dared not to look out the window when Melinda was here but it was not Melinda. Was it Melinda? He did not know when he came towards the edge of the chair and placed his hands onto his face.

Was it Melinda? Did this really happen? Is my mind complete or is my mind getting past the point of being fragmented? What is happening to my mind? What is really happening?

Frank looked at the wall that is past the television when he started to cry. It was not a dream though when the rapping on the window started up again when he dared not to pull the blinds on the windows. He knew what was there when he stayed isolated in his house for one whole week as the rapping continued on outside his window in a gentle rap, rap, rapping. At night it came to him at a gentle rap, rap, rapping. During the day it came to him at a gentle rap, rap, rapping.

That damn bird is driving me insane. Frank’s dreams came to him in a flux of madness and despair that he felt like dying every time before he woke up. The bird continued to rap on his bedroom window and living room window when Frank got the nerve to retrieve the gun, coming up from the darkness of the house to settle the score.

Submitted: May 17, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Adam Steele. All rights reserved.

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