SHORT STORIES: ‘The Bird Has Flown’

They’re after me! They’re after me! They’ve always been after me! They always will be. They can’t stand to see a genius like me exist. They slander and accuse me, but I know I’m pure. Let them come. This bird can fly.

I write these words so that you may know, just in case they get me. They won’t get me because I can fly, but still I write anyway. I fly across this continent and these words fly across the page. I shall tell you the truth, the truth of what happened in Rørvik. The real truth that is, not the lies that they peddle.

I was in Rørvik because they were after me. Yes, even back then. They’ve always chased me, called me crazed, but it is they, not I, who are the crazed… and jealous ones. So, they forced me to Rørvik, but I did not mind. It was an isolated place which suited my needs. It had a road in and a road out. Open sea is on one side and forested mountains the other. Flight was always possible. What more could I ask for?

I entered the town in the early evening and ensconced myself in the small bar by the harbour.

She saw me and smiled. I smiled back as she was pretty. She came over. This was a lonely place and I guessed that strangers rarely came, or at least, few worth talking to. “What’s your name?” she asked. I did not give it as I didn’t know if she was one of them. “Jacob,” I answered. “Are you in Rørvik on business or pleasure?” (She really was lonely). I told her my tale about selling lawnmower spares, (it is mundane enough to put anyone off the scent). “Where are you staying?” she then asked. “I don’t know yet,” I replied. “Why not my house then?”

Her house was a small log cabin with heavy eaves, halfway up a mountainside overlooking the town. “It was my grandmother’s,” she explained. “It’s been in the family for over a hundred years.”

Inside she was apologetic. The walls were bare and there was no furniture. “I’m in the middle of decorating,” she said. “I prefer to sit on the floor anyway,” I replied with a smile. She smiled back and said, “Drink?” I considered it a good idea so she got out a bottle, Romanian Cabernet Sauvignon. Drinkable but nothing special.

So we sat there in that empty house and talked and drank. She told me that she worked in a bank in Rørvik, that her boyfriend had just left her, (they’d been together five years), and that her grandmother had died of cancer at sixty-seven. I told her about lawnmowers, my love for sixties music and ornithology. We finished the Cabernet Sauvignon and she opened another bottle; a French Merlot. Slightly better. Then we talked about esoteric Buddhism and free love.

Around two she suggested that we lie down and consummate our new-found relationship. She led me to her room and we undressed. The sex was good, but I have had better. She was energetic but short on ideas.

Afterwards she said that she worked in the morning and that she had to sleep. I considered this selfish and ungrateful as my position was quite different, but she only laughed. To cover my offence, I suggested that I sleep elsewhere so as not to disturb her. She said that that wasn’t necessary but I insisted.

I left the bedroom and remembered that there was no furniture. How was I to sleep?! I couldn’t sleep on the floor; a bird must have a nest. I stood and thought for a moment, my head swimming with wine and sex. Then I felt my bladder ache. I went to the bathroom to relieve myself and as I did so I saw the bath. Its white cocoon beckoned to me so I grabbed the rug and slept there.

It was ten past ten when I awoke. She had left the house without a goodbye, a kiss, even a note. She was as false and deceitful as all the others! She was as bad as them; she could even be in league with them? Then I realised; the whole thing last night had been an act, a decoy. She was contacting them right now; they would be coming to get me, I had to get away. I had to punish her too. I looked around and saw the rug and the logs for the fire. I went outside and got some more wood and some petrol from the outhouse. I piled them all up in that empty lounge and poured the petrol over the pile. Then I went into the kitchen, got a box of matches, struck one and threw it onto the wood. It flared up immediately. Norwegian wood burns well. Then I left. They won’t get me, you see. This bird has flown.

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