Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the ninety-eighth piece in this series. This week’s is a 345-worder by short story author and poet Jade Kennedy. This story will be podcasted in episode 32 (with three other stories) on Sunday 6th October.
It started softly, almost like a golden humming within a dream, that then became a small part of the dawn chorus, singing strongly his song of welcome. As the days brightened and the nights receded more and more towards the horizon, he started visiting my window sill and just before the last star of night had faded away he would sing just for me, joyously, but with a sharp tone, a strange notation that he had come to tell me something.
His beak was smoothed, polished to a vibrant yellow, his feathers were like a velvet black cloak he wore with pride and he knew me and I knew him. As he woke me earlier each morning, during the week when the sun walked the longest through the sky, a mid-summer message from a spirited blackbird – I nicknamed him Solstice and he wove a dance between the green robed branches just for the joy of being.
The songs grew more desperate, his visits longer each morning, a swift imploring look in his eyes, a wishing to talk to me, tell me his real name, his story, something for my heart alone. In my lack of sleep blackbirds flew from every shadow, walked across my fingers and across my thoughts – his song wasn’t finished so my eyes didn’t close.
On the morning of the longest day, rising like a blue translucent shell into the darkness, I went out to the garden, the dew collecting on my feet like gold dust. He was in the tree above me drowned in green shadows and it was then when I reached out to him that I fell asleep, enveloped by the grass in its mid-summer growth. I felt my arms stretching, moving out of place, my bones softening, losing their shape, my back burned and pulsed, the first tips of feathers broke my skin, a downy black veil washed over me like rain – and I knew the morning songs and all the songs I must now sing. It was then that Solstice and I could speak.
I asked Jade what prompted this piece and she said…
I discovered that there was a blackbird living in the tree behind where I live. He started singing constantly in the early morning and the story blossomed from there. I wrote the whole thing while laid in bed, I have the strange ability to remember something I have written in my head the next day. I love anything with a fantasy edge and the story developed a natural surreal twist.
You’re very lucky. I forget things within a few seconds so have notepads in every dog-walking jacket and bag. 🙂 Thank you, Jade.
Jade Kennedy is a writer of poetry, prose and micro fiction and lives in East Yorkshire, England. She has had her poetry in Poet and Geek, Rain Dogs, Eclectic Eel issues 1,2&3, Ether Books, Brevity Poetry Review, and included in the poetry anthology, ‘The Universe Inside’ She writes a blog – ‘Borrowed Expressions’ at http://www.jadekennedywriter.blogspot.co.uk.
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