“Is that the best you can come up with?!”
An edged claw greeted my bony shoulders. It moved to my neck, up to my cheeks and settled through my hair. The creature moved its sharp bill towards my face and exhaled to my ears. I shivered.
“Your nuisance will not get you anywhere.” He tightened a grip down my neck while I gasped for air.
A thousand words and images flashed before my eyes. I mumbled random names as I attempted to remember every one. Fitzgerald. Chekhov. Forster. Lewis. Kafka. Tolstoy. Cervantes.
Courage jumped my gaze overhead, offering a view of my captive’s eyes – hollow, dark and lifeless. I swallowed hard – a cue to start the daily readings. “Readings”. Funny to say when one only recites from memory.
‘Fury said to a mouse,
That he met in the house,
“Let us both go to law:
I will prosecute YOU.
–Come, I’ll take no denial;
We must have a trial:
For really this morning
I’ve nothing to do.”
Said the mouse to the cur,
“Such a trial, dear Sir,
With no jury or judge,
would be wasting our breath.”
“I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,”
said cunning old Fury:
I’ll try the whole cause,
and condemn you
“Alice in Wonderland by author Lewis Caroll”, I said softly.
I absorbed the stares that followed my last words. I endured the silence of the shadow before me. My knees were stiff as the rest of me. This could be my last story.
But he turned his back to face the moon. “The only reason while you’re still alive is I find your stories slightly amusing.”
Almost screeching, he spread his massive wings and flew. The orange haze swallowed him whole as I watched him disappear. And somewhere in the middle of all those misty cloud, I lived to die another day. Just the needed cliché.