Chapter Thirteen



Knock. Blake opened. Ash frowned. Blake did not. His mouth was lipsticked red. Ash thrust himself in, anxiously. A dissected bird, speckled beak, bleeds out in the sink, still spritzing and spazzing, still helpless, a termination of a love. Ash yelped, his sack tightened. Blake weaseled up from behind. He swung his arm around Ash's shoulder, imitating an old pal. One face the antithesis of the other, though their absolute values equal. Ash immediately pulled back, and in the brief rustle their eyes locked; black eyes, occluded by shadow, caverns of brainless fear; instincts, paranoia, and subterfuge. 

Blake pulled in close. 

Ash: now encased in granite. Blake's callused hand brushed Ash's face, a blue-blooded backhanded expression of guardianship and platonic desire; Ash's structure disintegrated, an entropic soul prematurely sucked from his roughened chest; the body vacuum's vehicle, the manifestation of nothing into additional nothingness. His icy mouth gaped with death and Blake's balmy tongue entered, massaging teeth and exhausting arid breaths, inflating him with sweetened life, an existential balloon of human flesh, oiled and feathered; sensuality, bestiality, reconstitution. An indifferent hand slipped down Ash's elastic pants, choking his concrete erection. 

Rising on heat spirals emanating from the sewer dirge six stories below, Ash pumps his wings. The snow-globe was blackened and pasted smooth with suspended ash, an overcast of titanium grey into which he ascended, his consciousness retreating with every beat (transcendence); The Transformation is eternal death and new life, consummate.

Blake crouched, empty, yearning. It killed him again and again and again. Earthly love was his desire; death was his unwanted bedfellow. Transforming people into birds, this fed him momentary love; a sanguine respect between the assailant and the assailed immediately before the final gasp: you won, I love you, nobody gets to watch you die except for me, except for me, I love you. And still you live. Pass on the love. The creatures are to bring death in search of life.


Meanwhile, 1W resident Roy Redman mused patiently outside Mister Mayland's office, underground floor zero, dank with must, some kind of awful goo oozing out of the concrete crannies; viscous air, dismal lighting; a flickering, general despair. Press your ear against the goddamn door before knocking. Beep beep beep. Press your ear until your cartilage crinkles, until your ear hairs tickle the wood's rough grain; a record's needle brushing an invisibly complex surface. I just want to pay my rent.

Beep beep beep. 

Clench the iceberg knob, twist firmly, push inward with feathery force, beep beep beep; a red blinker pierces the room's blank abscesses. Only sheared cleanly by the pyramid of brown light which expands geometrically as the door creaks further. Beep beep beep, beep. A thousand thoughts, yet infinitely thoughtless. Curiosity kills. Roy nudges further. Paranoia, reaching in cautiously to flip the switch without crossing the threshold. 

But there it was, a hill of plastic explosive crowned with an octopus of red and white wiring; leads jammed haphazardly into the horrible dough, beep beep beep. And click.

A furious internal pressure bloated Roy, his gut suddenly engorged with vile pregnancy; his mind emaciated, desiccated, death before a death. A vibrant yet colorless pang, an oxidized sword penetrating svelte flesh, frisson in the flesh; a sour gulping, the sting of reflex acid, the timeless pain of eradication is the only afterlife; winged demons descend at incredible velocities to prey upon those who cannot stop bleeding.

The blonde died. 

The family man died. 

The castle was zeroed. 

Blake made an omniscient escape. 

And Roy entered The Dreamscape, Blake's existential abode. He felt unusual powers. The ability to transform, to control; therefore, to eradicate. He could soar to unknown heights, omniscient heights; he could spread this disease, but only after accepting human fate and the irreverence of the universe. Such is the absurd. Such was Birdpocalypse and the resulting media frenzy, announcers gawking and tickers chirping and speculators without sphincters shitting uncontrollably, etc.


Two years later, from the final high-rise among in the desolate rubble of Chicago, Janice eyes worryingly across a jagged horizon; Lake Michigan might as well have boiled over, scorching red an entire populous and swallowing them into miles and miles of abyss. She feeds on scraps scavenged from the ground floor, littered only with human and bird carcasses. She drinks from the holy sky, an irony considering the medium through which death's life had been delivered. Cowering from the torment above, she holds out day by day, death more than certain, serving her evolutionary purpose: to survive. To propagate. To procreate. It's been a decade since she last fucked. Of all times, now is the time.

Blake waits. His birds wait, too.



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