We were on an island, in a yellow school bus, which was racing up and down hills at well over a hundred miles per hour. Every time I looked out the front window I was convinced that we were about to die, but somehow our driver navigated the curves with ease despite the obvious defiance of physics.
In my hand was a carton of a half-dozen eggs. As we barreled up and down the hills, I opened the carton. I reached for an egg and it cracked as I touched it. Inside was dead black baby bird covered in a gooey mess.
As I cupped my fingers around the bird in order to lift it out of the egg, the egg next to it suddenly hatched. Out of that egg burst a healthy little yellow chick.
Out of nowhere, a shoebox appeared. I put the chick in the shoebox to protect it, but the shoebox had strangely wide holes on the sides, and the chick kept escaping out of the holes. I tried to cover the holes with my hands, but there were more holes than I had hands, so no matter what I did the chick would escape. Meanwhile we are being thrown around the bus as it continued down the hills at a terrifying speed.
At one point, the chick escaped just as we were being tossed about, and it was crushed under my foot. I picked it up, it was dead. I started to cry and pet it, and suddenly it sprang back to life.
The bus started to pick up speed even faster. I put the chick back in the box, but it escaped again. Suddenly a second chick hatched out of the egg carton. The hills were getting steeper and I could not keep the chicks in the shoebox no matter how hard I tried.
At that moment, my alarm went off and I woke up.
* * * * *
I went to meet someone for coffee at ten. Today was a bank holiday, so when I got to the plaza it was mostly deserted. The coffee shop was open, however, and given that it was a sunny day we sat outside and drank coffee while we talked.
A few minutes into our conversation, three birds started running about beneath the tables next to us, chirping unusually loud to the point where I couldn’t hear what he was saying.
“Shh…” I whispered to the birds. “Vous êtes trop bruyant.”
They quieted down for a moment, though continued to run about beneath us. We continued our conversation.
Suddenly they were even louder than before, and as I looked down one bird had another pinned down by the neck, as though they were dogs fighting. A third was hopping about, watching a few inches away. The pinned bird was screeching in pain.
“Arrêtez!” I yelled towards them, perhaps a little too loudly, not able to contain my horror. They stopped and flew away, only to come back again a moment later.
He looked at me and smiled. “Do you always talk to the birds?” he asked me in English.
“Yes,” I said without thinking, realizing a moment later that perhaps I had just revealed more about myself than I should. “And usually they listen, but things seem off today.”
* * * * *
Two messages from trusted friends in three days, both with the same message gleaned from dreams. I am in the hospital. Rhyd is with me. In each respective dream, each friend is with me as well. One mentions something specific to my leg, the other mentioned that Rhyd had carried me. When I had gotten the first message last Saturday, I noted it in the back of my mind but did not let it get to me. But when I got the second message this afternoon, I panicked.
A few minutes later, Rhyd walks in and sits down next to me at the coffee shop, having finally found tobacco after an hour-long search due to the bank holiday. I relayed everything that had transpired in the last day.
He took out his book in which he had recorded his divination system, which consists of lines from many of his writings, each with an assigned number. He takes my computer and pulls up a virtual dice.
“When you are ready, click the button,” he said. I do as he says.
He takes that number and inputs it into the roll instructions. “When you are ready, do it again.” Again I do as he says.
He consults his book and starts to write down lines. After thinking for a moment, he draws lines between the lines.
“Read them as stanzas – here, here, and here,” he says, pointing to the lines.
Once again I do as he says.
* * * * *
“It’s dark inside the tomb. Desert priests staring into the sun.
Feather in pocket, or in ear. The moment of the magician, the revolutionary.
I wanted a fuck, a fire, a cup of tea.
The world between the walls.”
* * * * *
A little while later, we left the coffee shop in search of curry. An hour later, we were still walking around, nearly every place closed due to the bank holiday.
We finally came across a burger place. “This place is kind of my guilty pleasure,” he says.
We got in. I realize quickly that rare meat is exactly what I needed.
We walked back to where I had locked up my bike, next to the same coffee shop that I had been in and out of all day. We said our goodbyes as a friend approached, and so we lingered a moment longer to talk with her a bit.
At that moment, I looked towards the road right next to the coffee shop, right next to where the birds had fought that morning. In the road was a newly dead pigeon. I winced and pointed.
At that moment, a car came barreling down the road, hitting the pigeon again dead on. I heard the sound of it crushing under the tires, and winced again as more feathers scattered.
“I really need to go home now,” I said to them both.
I got on my bike and pedaled home as fast as I could.