Hal cursed and slammed the book closed. That ending had to be the most self absorbed, nihilistic piece of crap he had ever read. How could he possibly have wasted so much time reading this piece of meaningless garbage?  Hal generally tried to choose his reading to be uplifting. A good story could bring one of those bright spots of insight and meaning that allowed his personal fog to lift, even if only for a short period. Not this one, no matter how highly his friends had recommended it. 

He threw it across the room, the pages fluttering.  Spinning, the white pages melted into feathers… wings… and a sharp-beaked bird that pivoted on its tail in the air and spun back toward him, squawking.

The bird pecked at him as its white wings battered his head. Hal felt blood running down the back of his neck. He swatted at it and got clawed. Turning fast, he tipped over a lamp. His fluffy black dog flew into the room, barking. Dino jumped at the bird, snapping at it. The bird flew up, but dove back down again as soon as it was above Dino’s leap. Hal had a moment to breathe. He picked up a blanket, thinking he might trap it.

Hal flung the blanket over the bird, and Dino pounced, paws landing hard, as the blanket hit the floor. Hal dropped and patted to feel for the bird. Nothing was there. Something slammed into his head and his cheek caught fire. Hal leapt up, arms waving but felt nothing but air. He spun around, looking for his attacker.

The bird was now going after Dino. It pecked at the dog’s eyes and Hal could see blood on Dino’s fur. He flipped the blanket at the bird, but as he stepped forward his foot caught on the leg of the table and he fell, his head hitting the floor. 

Hal came back to consciousness feeling a touch on his cheek. It was wet.  He was being licked. He heard a whine, and put his hand up to reassure his friend. The memory of the bird and the book resurfaced. 

“Holy shit, that was a weird dream,” He sat up holding his head. “I think I gave myself a concussion.” The dog whined again. Hal put his arms around Dino and rested his head against the thick fur. “Well, at least you saved me in my dream buddy,” he said. The dog gave a low woof, not loud enough to aggravate the headache that was blooming. Hal crawled to the sofa and managed to get himself up onto it. He looked at the dog. Dino had a bloody furrow on his head. Hal’s eyes widened. He looked around the room. On the floor was a pile of white feathers and a bloodstain. He looked at his dog, who gave him a canine smile and another woof. 

Hal thought Dino would be pooping out paper later.

Published by sabrinarosen

Sabrina Rosen is a writer, home remodeler, massage therapist, and, landlord. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two tuxedo cats.

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