* This narrative is dedicated to my cousin Amanda. Thank you for always challenging my writing and inspiring me to write more, be more, be better. Enjoy! *
Written by Vanessa Grillone on October 31, 2014
It is a dead songbird that I nearly run over with my car on Hallows’ Eve. When I notice it, I assume it’s a dirty old sock that fell out of my brother’s car. I’ll make him pick it up when he gets home. I collect the empty water bottles thrown around my car, a mountain of plastic polluting the earth. With my hands full I somehow manage to grab my purse and swing the car door open. Incessant chirping floods my ears while goosebumps prickle the back of my neck. I thrust my booted feet out of the car and watch my phone sail away, it hits the ground face-first.
I run to my phone, throwing the water bottles without care. My heart pounds as I flip it over. The screen is cracked in the shape of a lightning bolt. I press the home button in panic. It works. I cannot afford a new phone right now. I caress my fractured phone then stow it in my pocket and stand up. The clouds are dark and dreary even though it’s one in the afternoon. The cold runs through my bones, brain freeze strikes all of my limbs. The trees are fading around me, the bright fiery red leaves disappearing into a copper-orange and brown the shade of bark. The wind whispers, winter is coming.
The chirping gets louder. I look around and then up. I see thirty robins sitting in a tree, their shrill voices aren’t singing — they’re screaming. Squawking, judging, and belittling me. Oh fuck off you nasty animals and stop shitting on my car! They get louder, where is my stupid dog when I need him?
I think about running inside, but I remember my brother’s sock and the water bottles that are now at the end of my driveway. One by one I pick them up and whip them into our dank garage. Next I walk around to the passenger’s side of my car, ignoring the party of robins hovering above my head. The sock is not a sock, but a dead robin. I step backwards slowly, trying not to show fear. I want to walk inside, to feel the warmth and comfort of my house, but I’m frozen where I stand.
He looks peaceful, sleeping with eyes open.
He’s almost beautiful with a deep orange breast, soft brown feathers, and a perfect tiny beak.
I hope he got to the end of his very last song.– Vanessa
*The Songbird is a work of fiction*