A Little Bird’s Warning

A little bird, a hummingbird once envied by all but now old and grey, sat on a branch near the entrance of an ancient forest.
In the morning, it was the most beautiful sight ever witnessed by any creature.
The gentle wind would whisper to the lonely traveler, and guided the swaying trees

“Come to me.” It would say.
“Come to me.” The trees nodding in agreement.

But in the night, as the little critter knew, the forest would show all those within its darker purpose for it was no ordinary forest.
In it lay something long forgotten.
Something of which the people dare not speak.
All who knew what hid inside the dark twists and turns of the thick forest had perished to the evil that roamed within.
The little bird though, small, weak and weary as it was, still remembered.
Remembered what would happen to any and all who ventured too far and long past its gates.
It knew the whispers, knew the words and it even knew the being behind it.
A terrible thing, one that had scarred its little soul for this existence and the next.
And for this reason, the little bird would sit on his branch near the entrance, the maw of the great forest, and warn any passersby of their impending doom.

“Return now, for only death awaits those fools who venture onward!” It would cry out in a fiendish shriek.

Often, it would have the desired effect.
It was not the message, for warnings are seldom heeded by humans, but the startling cry, a cry of utter despair that would often break the spell the forest had on its prey.
But sometimes, when a mind was just too curious, or when they were there on their own accord, it would not work.
The little bird could do nothing but see the doomed walk towards their end.
Then, under the cover of night at exactly three past twelve, one standing near the entrance could hear the most horrifying things.
Cries, wails, screams and final prayers of those still on the beast’s grounds.
When, after a few minutes, depending on how many had entered during the day, the cries would stop and a faint laugh could be heard.
A laugh and a whisper.

“Come, little critter, come to me.”

The little critter would answer the same, every night of every day.

“Why would I?”

“A life for all life.
“Come to me and I will slay no more.” The whispers would say.

The little bird, old and wise as it was, knew this to be false but still…
It hurt the small, gentle creature.
It slowly chipped away at its soul, at its sanity for it was a saintly deal to be struck.
Imagine one had the power to stop all disease.
The price, a life.
Your very own.
Would you do this?
Most would, but what if it were a great risk.
What if it were uncertain that the disease would even stop, would one persist?
Would you?
The evil knew of this inner conflict as it knew all within its dark domain, for it repeated the damning words every night of every day.
One dark, winter’s day, after the beast had feasted well, it once again spoke to the bird.
It whispered into its ear the same thing as it always does.

“Come, little critter, come to me.”

Only this time, the little bird fell of its branch near the entrance of the dark forest.
It crashed to the soft, leaf covered ground below and lay there motionless for what seemed to be hours.
Eventually, the bird got up and started walking the path.
It hopped along, one of its legs slightly injured from the fall, toward its doom.
I just sat, watched and listened.
Then, at what my watch claimed to be exactly three past twelve, I heard a faint whisper in the dark.
A whisper so gentle that if one tried to force it into his mind, it would break and be lost forever.
It spoke thus.

“A little bird, old and grey, sat on a branch one dark, winter’s day.
“It sat and watched the people below, warning them of utter woe.
“Yet the people did not heed the cries of the little bird, and fell to me, their undying guilt.
“For this forest, a forest of death, with a creature of own design.
“It haunts us all, just a matter of time.”

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A Little Bird’s Warning

Dying Breath

I lay here, breathing my final breaths with great anticipation.
It might seem odd that a dying man, like myself, were keen to die, but you must understand that I have waited long for this moment.
These final minutes leading up to the last liberating breath.
You must know that I am not a man of great depression or sorrow.
I have lead a good life, even though it has been a rocky road at times, but I have no complaints.
I have known true love, a feat not all dying men can share.
I have known great sorrow, for even the truest love is vulnerable to the uncertainty that is life.
Even so, it broke me not.
A strong will is a trait that runs throughout the family, the origin being on my mother’s side, and this has helped me overcome any obstacle I have encountered throughout my life.
Though I am still a young man, no older than eighteen years of age, I can say that I have lived a full life.
Whether I were to die now or at the old age of eighty would make no difference to me.
No, it is not depression that brought me here.
It was curiosity that shall soon kill the cat.

I have always had a fascination for death.
The idea seemed so foreign to me yet I could not shake the joy I felt when trying to envision my own demise.
I would spend many days wondering, thinking, dreaming about death.
How would I die?
Would I die of old age?
Would I be stricken down by disease?
Would I be slain by my fellow man?
As I lay here now I can tell you that it was all a construct of my own.
I suffer the most ironic of demise, by my own hand.
No, I hold no knife or gun to my throat or head.
I stand not on a bridge nor do I have a noose tied firmly around my neck.
No, I chose a softer passing.
I drank myself to death.
Many years of extensive consummation of alcohol has brought me to this point.
My liver is dying and my mind suffers.
They did ask me if I wanted to accept a donor organ, as a means to extend my shortened life, but I refused politely telling them that somewhere there would be a man or woman more deserving of such a thing.
Finding the right donor is a rare occurrence, rarer than winning the lottery, so I could not help but chuckle when they told me they had found one that fit me like a glove.
I could not help but laugh at their reaction when I told them no.
The doctor even asked me why.
I told him plain and simple that I wished to die.
That it would be a wasted effort to extend my life.
He merely looked at me in a strange manner and left the room.
I am certain he has told the others of what I had said, for no doctor or nurse now enters this room.
There is but one, a young woman whom I have grown fond of that comes in every now and then to bring me my food.
She is a truly good soul and I am glad I had the honour of meeting her before my final song is sung.
It is strange, but she seems very familiar to me.
The way she speaks to me.
The way she moves, even how she looks.
A peculiar thing.

But, as I was writing, I had a problem with alcohol. I still do.
The nurse I just spoke of, kind as she is, always brings me a small glass of whiskey with my dinner.
She refused the first two times and asked me why on the third.
I answered her question as I had answered the doctor.
She, however, did not shun my answer.
It almost seemed as though she understood, although I sincerely hope she doesn’t.
It is not that I even like alcohol, it is just a very elaborate way of taking my own life.
I have never been able to exercise the act of suicide.
My wrists know the knife as my head and neck know the gun and noose, yet I have never followed through.
Perhaps I am not that strong willed as I originally thought.
Perhaps I am just a coward, seeking an easy way.
I hope not, but I do wonder.
Nevertheless, I lay here now.
It is too late for regrets.
It is too late to change what I have done.
I have even made sure that I would hurt no one with my coming end.
Friends I have none, I made sure of that.
Children I never had for I would not make a good father nor husband.
I have never passed for a normal person and to knowingly transfer these genes to another human being would be nothing less than a sin.
None should be forced to live as I have.

I am rambling again, and I must ask for your apology.
Now that I am so close to meeting the reaper, I fear I’m growing weak.
Just a normal reaction, fear of dying.
It makes no sense though, for there is no way I will walk out of this hospital alive.
I can feel my limbs growing weaker by the minute.
I can feel my mind getting weary.
The moment I close my eyes I will pass on, but this is not how I want to go.
I know how I want to go.
I’ve always known that.
I want to shake his hand.
Shake the hand of the reaper.
My greatest desire and one of the causes of my current state.
When he comes for me, and he will come soon, I will meet him as a friend.
I will invite him to a conversation.
I will speak and he will speak.
We will talk from dusk till dawn.
We will talk until the nurse, Lillith is her name, enters the room and checks my silent pulse.
After she discovers my passing I will greet her a final farewell.
A final kiss on the cheek.
I just hope Lillith will not take it too hard, my passing.
I am sure she won’t, but I just fear her good nature will get the better of her.
She reminds me much of me, of how I once loved my wife.
How she loved me.
My friends have always said I worry too much.

I fear I must now interrupt my writing.
In these last few lines the air has become colder, more dense.
I can feel his presence.
It has been an honour, dear reader.

May I we meet another time, in a better place,
Signed…

 

“A peculiar man.”
“I agree.”

The two officers sit at the small table beside the bed of the late patient, one smoking a cigar as the other held the letter in his hand.

“There is just one thing I don’t understand.”
“Just one?”

The man chuckled as he made his remark.

“Who is Lillith?”
“I do not know. But I believe there is a question better answered first.”
“And that is?”
“Who was this man?”

Dying Breath