My second piece of Flash Fiction! Exciting. I’ve finished up the first draft of Episode Five and when I read the challenge I thought it was perfect. It took a couple starts before I finally got something I liked. So here goes:
I’ve seen a lot over the years, and being a Phoenix there have been many years. I’ve lived in the mundane world more than the magic world, though I prefer the world of magic. There’s only so many times you can live in a cage and be poked and prodded and experimented on before the joy of pizza crust wears off.
I was free of a master and flying where I wanted when the sound of a woman sobbing caught my attention. She was in a small house, in a big city, on a quiet block. Her cries reached my ears because they were full of a heartache only caused by the loss of a loved one.
One look at her and I knew she was a noble. People don’t give birds a lot of credit, the term bird brain comes to mind, but Phoenix are very observant. I noticed the expensive material of her clothes and the high quality of the furniture around the room. Maybe her tight quarters were a recent development?
She was oblivious to me and my inspection of her living quarters as she stood over a man and cried her heart out. I could smell the poison spread through his body all the way from my spot on the window sill and knew that it was just a matter of minutes before he slipped away.
I didn’t know this woman, or the man lying there dying, but something about the situation spoke to me. I’ve been around death my entire life, as a Phoenix death is a part of me in a way like nothing else, but something about this man’s ending seemed wrong. It seemed unjust and too soon.
When I landed on the headboard the woman didn’t even flinch. Her eyes were red and puffy and full of grief. I looked down at the man and his body was unnaturally still, his skin pale, and the sweat on his brow a sickly sweet from the poison.
I sang the song of the Phoenix. A song of life and death and new beginnings. A song of hope. As the last note ended I flew across the room to a chair and waited for my death. As the man in bed began to get better my wings started to droop. As the color returned to his skin my purple feathers began to fall. When he sat up in bed the flames of my death burst around me burning until I was just ash.
Weeks later when I hatched the woman was there to care for me. She named me Bob. Not the worst name I’ve been called.