Chapter Three



When Beatrice woke up, she was hit with memories from the previous night, flashing in a series of mumbled images. She could sense the absence of a few possibly crucial moments but couldn't quite manage to draw them back to her. What she knew for sure, was that something awful had happened last night.

Still buried under her unnecessarily large white comforter, Beatrice closed her eyes and tried to piece together the moments she could remember. There had been wine--a lot of wine. Strangely enough, she could remember calling someone. She had always hated talking on the phone, because it was too hard to read people. Body language was a crucial part of how she survived social situations. And yet, she could remember dialing in a number, she could even remember the phone ringing on the other end, but she couldn't remember who had picked up.

If I'm lucky, she thought, I'll end up with another shopping channel gem delivered to my door in a few days. But Beatirce had never been very lucky.  She rolled sluggishly over on her side and found herself face to face with the "something awful" that had happened last night: her ex. Suddenly she could remember a few more pieces of her night, though she wished they had stayed safely tucked away behind the hangover headache she had begun to develop. The worst of them was the phone call: "I'm not okay. Can you come over?"

She let out an angry groan. She had been doing so well. Why had she called him last night of all nights?

Ashland woke with a few flutters of his eyelids. He, like Beatrice, seemed somewhat alarmed at their situation. He sat up and leaned his back against the headboard. Using a hair tie on his wrist, Ash pulled his shoulder-length black hair into a loose bun. "So… that was unexpected. Guess we messed up a little, huh?"

Beatrice got out of bed and pulled on an over-sized sweater and a pair of black cotton leggings. Her long, mouse brown hair stayed tucked between her sweater and her neck, until she pulled the strands to freedom with an annoyed tug. "I'm sorry I called, Ash. It wasn't fair of me. I think you should go."

"Come on, Beatrice. We both know this is dumb. The phone call proves that. You don't really want me to go, do you?"

Beatrice sighed and clenched her jaw. "Yes, I do. Please." She moved into the kitchen, the tiled-portion of her open floor plan apartment. She began to move dirty dishes off the counters and into an already full sink.

"Look, you're the one who called me. Don't get mad."

"I'm not mad," Beatrice said without taking her eyes away from her fruitless task. "I just need you to go. I have a lot to get done today, and I'm not off to a particularly good start."

"You're not even going to explain what last night was all about?"

"I was drunk and lonely, Ash. That's all. We don't work. You know that as much as I do."

"No, I mean about what you were doing up on the roof last night."

Beatrice whipped around. "Wait, what?"

"When I got here, you were on the rooftop. You don't remember? Geez, I didn't realize you were that bad off."

Beatrice became very alert, her eyes widening to their full capacity. She threw a handful of dishes back on the counter with a crash and ran to the front door of her apartment. She grabbed a pair of off-brand Toms and tugged one on each foot as she hopped out the door. Ash, having pulled on a robe that was entirely too small for him, chased after her.

"What are you doing?" he shouted as Beatrice took the stairs two at a time.

Beatrice didn't answer. She propelled herself up the stairs as fast as she could manage, using the ice cold, metal railings to launch herself forwards. She finally reached the rooftop exit and burst out into the chilly fall morning, completely out of breath.

"No. No, no no, no, no. This is not happening," she said to no one in particular.

Ash reached the top of the stairs a few moments later. "What the hell is your problem, Bee?"

"The birds! Where are they??"

Sure enough, there were a variety of bird cages all open and empty.  "I don't know," said Ash, "There weren't any here last night when I found you."

"You're sure?"

"Pretty sure. Why? What's going on?"

Beatrice ignored him and paced the feather-riddled rooftop. More memories came back to her. The street outside the apartment complex (had she been leaning over the edge of the roof?), the key to the bird cages in her hands, the phone call, now with this more distinct setting encompassing it. She tried to pushing everything else aside, especially the stuff with Ash, so she could focus on what had happened on the rooftop. Then she knew.

Beatrice stood quietly, taking it all in. Ash approached her from behind and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Bee, talk to me. What happened?"

She turned towards Ash and realized that he wasn't the something bad from last night. "I…I let all of the birds out."

Ash looked confused but tried to remain sincere. He was good at stuff like that. "Okay. Well, it's probably nothing to be upset about. I'm sure you can just talk to whoever owned them, maybe make arrangements to have them replaced."

"You don't understand," Beatrice said, "You don't know what I've done."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Beatrice walked over to the edge of the roof nearest the cages and looked out over the city.

"Those weren't ordinary birds."

She didn't even want to think about what was going to happen next.


Previous        Next