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General

As the night grew darker, stillness and silence started to replace the usual liveliness of the neighbourhood. Residents headed home. Shop owners packed up. The land ruled by the ones at the top of the food chain is now vacant.


Except the usual night owls and drivers that work the night shift, a new set of inhabitants are now coming forth. Birds, bugs, rats... The once lively streets were now draped over by a more primitive culture for the time being. 


However, it was not only limited by nocturnal animals. It was also the time for wonder, magic and the supernatural. Yes, the things where we were unsure of what we had seen or felt at night was at the hands of certain magic that grew stronger the darker the days were.


One such instance was a creature that circled the dark sky. Its obsidian-like feathers rendering it completely undetectable. It had a bright-contrasting orange beak and eyes. From an untrained eye, it looked just like a bird native here, the Javan myna. However, it had a very subtle difference. Unique patterns were visible on its wings albeit on a lighter shade of its feathers, making it almost non-existent. Undoubtedly, the bird was a creation of the nightly magic.


The black bird circled the residential blocks, scanning each abode as it whizzed past. The common sight were people sleeping but a few night owls were awake, either gaming the night away or making love with each other. The usual.


Suddenly, the bird picked up muffled shouting which piqued its interest. Diving towards the window of the noise's location, the bird rested on the window grill just in time to see a large man turning himself into his bed. It was dark. But not for this birdy. Its eyes adjusted to the darkness quickly and soon enough a picture was painted.


It was a fairly normal bedroom. The man laid on a single bed. A TV sat on top of a floor cabinet. A wardrobe occupied most of the space. Beside it was sliding door which seemed to be the bathroom. The bird curiously tilted its head, wondering what could have triggered the shouting in the first place.


Suddenly, out of the corner of its eye, a dark object rose below the window still. The bird was able to detect the movements and quickly exerted some space as it drifted in the air in a panic. The bird looked closer at the strange object and realized that parts of the object were moving. It was hair. It didn't take long for the bird to conclude that the black object was the head of a human.


The bird perched back on the surface, wondering what a human was doing there. Sniff! Sniff! The bird picked up a sniffing noise. Wait. Was the human crying?


The bird hopped down from the still and landed on top of the aircon on the bottom right of the room. It peered over just in time to see the last tears of the weeping boy fall. The bird also noticed the boy's crumbling arms that were raised in a "surrender" position. The bird silently thanked its wings.


".. hate.. family... wish you'd die...hope.....exist" the boy muttered under his breath.


The bird gazed at the boy's expression. His face was so pinched in that it might be sucked into non-existence. His intense glare was amplified by his complete set of furrowed eyebrows. He was angry. That was obvious. But, the bird knew what he was really feeling. The boy was scared and confused.


He looked no more than 9 years old. His "Winnie The Poo" singlet was a dead giveaway. The bird's best guess was that he did something wrong that triggered his father, the one on the bed, and decided to punish him. Being young, he had poor emotional control. It was something that all of us had to go through. Even if the bird just left him alone, he might just grow up normally.


Might.


After a few seconds, the bird had decided on what to do.


Chirp! Chirp! 


The boy's fiery glare extinguished and he looked over at the blackbird. The boy loomed over the creature, not speaking a single word but his widened eyes had "curiosity" written all over.


He waddled through the floor, with his hands still in the air, and came face to face with the blackbird. silent stares ensued between them. Although both parties were silent, it was pretty clear that each of them was fascinated by their presence.


Finally, the boy made a move. He looked back slowly at his father, making sure he was still unconscious. A loud snore answered his worries, reassuring him. The boy slowly put down his hands and placed them at the edge of the surface where the bird was sitting. He moved his head forward until his nose was just a few centimetres away from touching the bird.


As steady as he can, he reached his finger for the bird, careful not to make any sudden movements. The magical creature looked into the young boy's eyes. From experience, it knew that there were two types of humans. One is where the human would shoo them away or worse, grab them. Two is where a human just wants to feel it, enchanted by the creations of Mother Nature. Luckily, the bird seemed to have judged the boy's heart correctly.


His finger made contact with the bird's wings which surprised the boy, causing him to retreat a little. He did not expect that an animal would have trusted him so easily. New confidence swirled inside him as the bird hopped towards his left hand, seemingly asking to be felt to which he obliged.


He made contact the bird again and this time he did not retract He moved his finger up to its neck and gave it a little scratch. The bird shook from ecstasy. The boy masterfully switched from left and right, not realizing that a smile had slowly strewn on his face. He did not experience anything like this before. But, it wasn't over yet. This time, it was the bird's turn. 


It stretched its wings proudly, surprising the boy. With a few flaps, the bird carried itself into the air. He watched as the bird glided around the room freely. At one moment it was at the wardrobe and the next it was on top of his father. However, this had caused the boy to worry a little. What if this made his Dad wake up from his slumber?


Fortunately, the bird only hovered on top of him. It knew what he was thinking. But, the bird still had one trick on its sleeve. It readied itself for a big finish. 


Concentrating, the bird's strange marks began to glow, emitting a bright blue light. The boy looked shocked. In an instant, it darted straight towards the boy's face and out the window. The boy had ducked and quickly looked out at the sky, searching for his feathery friend. He was greeted by an explosion resembling fireworks. Glowing blue dust fell from the sky. The night wind made some of the dust land on the boy's nose which tickled him. Being the kid he is, he stuck his tongue out. The bird was successful in its objective. Any trace of his anger was gone. Only joy and fascination remained.


After he had his fair share of fun, the boy looked out the window, in search of his feathery friend. A few seconds passed. Nothing.


A tint of disappointment filled his face. His once lit eyes were deflated again as it seemed his encounter with magic had ended. He curled up with his knees tucked in as the moonlight softly laid its eyes on him, not even bothering to raise his arms anymore.


Chirp! Chirp!


As soon as he heard that sound, his head instantly popped out the window. Sure enough, the bird was on his window still. Its appearance restarted the boy's smile and wasted in no time to pet it. It hopped onto his hand and made its way to his shoulder where it laid for a while. Any signs of sadness, anger and disdain had disappeared. The pair sat peacefully under the moonlight together.


"Boy!"


Their peace was disturbed by a voice in front of them. It was his Father. The boy panicked as he realized his hands were down. However, just before he raised them again, the Father said, "Go to sleep."


A sigh of relief and the boy relaxed. It was brief, though, as he knew their meeting was going to end soon. The bird seemed to know it too. The boy gestured his friend to hop on to his finger. He lifted it to the sky with the moon shining brightly behind. It was time to say goodbye.


The bird chirped. But, there was a slight change of tone which was its way of saying 


"It's okay. We will meet again."


The bird flapped its wings and exited the room. Just like that. No grand gestures. No sudden movements. The boy stared at the empty sky for a moment.


He stood up and walked towards his father's door. He exited the room, his eyes heavy and his posture slouched from fatigued. He reached his hand out for his doorknob and, just before he could turn it, he noticed something falling above him


The object cradled as it fell. It landed on the boy's hand. And he realized what it was. A feather. 


With his small memento in his hands and a little magic in his heart, he entered his room to get a good night's rest.

May 15, 2020 15:21

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2 comments

Chloe Ly Grimont
11:15 May 21, 2020

This was quite a hear-warming story :) I really liked your descriptions, especially in the beginning as day turned to night and you introduced the bird. These are minor details honestly, but you might want to reread it because there were a few switches between the past and present tense, and I think that you wrote "window still" instead of "sill", but excuse me if I've simply read it wrong. Other than that, nice job, with cute and intriguing characters!

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Dom Brillante
06:35 May 22, 2020

Thank you very much! :)

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