Of herons and dwarf skeletons

That damned bird again.

The room was small, with a couch against the south wall and a small window on the north wall, off to the right. The flue in the room below ran straight through this room, next to the window, and made the room more awkward than it already was.

The pale yellow paint wasn’t quite right. The window was the window of an older home: wooden sash with counterweights that had broken long ago, falling forever into the frame, leaving the window to stay open via friction provided from warping over the years. It pleased me.

There was just no way around it. I had to kill the bird.

My first thought was that it would flail around like when you kill a chicken. Do they really run around for several minutes, a geyser of blood? Maybe this heron would do that. And I couldn’t risk it. So I decided to pin it down with a clamp. Yeah, a metal pipe clamp that was sort of an omega shaped piece of bent metal. One on its neck, one on each leg. Fastened with screws.

It had long legs, the beast, and I was afraid it would summon ostrich-like strength and kick the shit out of me when I killed it. Had to restrain the legs. Those long, black, spindly legs.

The axe was unusually long and slender. I’m not even sure where one would procure such an axe, though it found me and seemed that it would suit my purpose.

The bird’s eye was frantic and wild. Just do it, already.

Thwack!

At first, I wasn’t sure that I had done it. Some feathers were ruffled and the bird was struggling beneath my makeshift restraints, but still seemed otherwise alive.

Thwack!

This time I was sure the axe went cleanly through, though it wasn’t entirely apparent at first.

In my haste and bloodlust, I had forgotten to put something under the bird. Shit! Blood was getting all over the carpet. Shit, damn, fuck, shit! Need a towel, must get a towel, need a towel…

The wings stopped flapping and I threw the body aside, onto a towel, and proceeded to mop up the blood soaked into the carpet, cursing myself again that I had been so stupid.

I looked up from my task and the head and neck of the heron had gone to the window and was hopping up and down on its stump, which was now sort of a leg. The damned bird was still alive! And it was trying to fly out the window!

I made chase but the bird was wiley. He made it past me and into the hallway. The hallway of the apartment building. Where other people could see. They must not see. It must not happen again.

Fumbling for the axe, I followed and found the bird head and neck laying on the floor, its beak open and staring.

Footsteps. People were coming from around the bend. Gotta get this over with. And fast.

I flipped the axe over and used the blunt side to smash the head of the heron. Twice. As I saw the shadows portending their arrival, I was done and dragging the corpse back into the room.

Shooooooooooop!

Closing the door, I was vaguely aware that the world had shifted. It was suddenly night, Cate was on the couch in the cramped room, and the heron was now a full person, scaled down to about 12 inches tall. Almost like a primordial dwarf, but not so freakish looking.

Whatever it was, I had killed it.

Cate was looking at me sincerely. She cocked her head and asked, “So what are you going to do? You just HAD to go and kill him?”

“What? Shut up, I didn – I didn’t kill THIS! It was that bird!”

“No, you killed him, alright; you smashed in his head. He’s dead.”

I was panicking now. This isn’t what I thought. And I had no idea how I’d gotten into this, but I had to get out of it.

I glanced down at the creature, but it had decayed to a fetid, brown corpse, not much more than a mummified skeleton.

I didn’t know what to do, so I frantically searched the room for an idea. Cate was still sitting there, looking at me expectantly.

I threw the body out the window and ran out of the apartment with a shovel.