|A Man and His Birds
Author: redacted PM
A quickie one shot I whipped up for a writing prompt. I can't guarantee you'll like it, but I can guarantee that if you don't, you won't have wasted too much of your time reading it.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 468 - Published: 06-21-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2820054
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(A/N: Written for The Muse Bunny, Silent Prompt #10. Yes, the child-like style is purposeful)
There once was a man. He was not unlike the many other men born before him, and in all likelihood, not unlike the many that would be born after him. This particular man, however, loved the birds. The park bench up on the hill was his domain, and he could be seen tossing breadcrumbs to his flock of feathered companions on almost any day of the year, in almost any weather. Some of the people in town said that it was because his wife had died and he was lonely. Some said he was a Soviet spy, and that inside his ever-present bag of bird food was a camera. Some maintained that he simply was not playing with a full deck, wink wink, nudge nudge.
Regardless of the reason, it could not be denied that the man had an affinity for birds. They had no fear of him as they did other human beings. When he approached the bench in the morning, the birds would flock down from the trees at his beck and call. Pigeons, starlings, ravens, jays, crows, a big, jostling crowd, awaiting an audience from their favorite person in the world.
On a fine July day, six hours before Fall, the powers that be started a war, and through misjudgment and mismanagement the conflict reached this particular town. The old man watched from his bench as the first shells fell and exploded into fluffy ribbons of smoke. After that, no one was allowed outside without a pass, but even this did not deter him. He fed his birds as he always had, except now from the window of his house.
The soldiers grew suspicious and contemptuous of the old man and regularly mocked him as he went about his daily business. By and by the reasons and motivations for the war faded from memory into history, and the soldiers got back in their trucks and went home. Unfortunately, while he had left the war, the war had not left him, and he died a few years later.
His funeral was not crowded. A few relatives from out of town showed up, and there was enough gossip about them to last the locals several weeks. When it came time to put his body in it's final resting place, the attendees had to send for help, as there were not enough people to lift the coffin.
For every day after that, and long after bench was removed, the park overgrown, and the houses abandoned, the birds would come and gather at the spot. Inside that area, there was no fighting, no jostling, no biting, only a reverent silence broken only by the occasional coo of a mourning dove.