Bird- Part 2
Read Part 1 here
Clarissa came home around four in the afternoon. She flung her purse on the couch and made her way into the kitchen.
“Jay?” she called out. No answer.
She went into the bedroom and saw Jay lying on his back with one of her good towels by his neck.
“Is that . . .” she started. “Jay! Is that one of my good towels?”
Jay jumped awake, rubbed his eyes, and squinted at Clarissa. “Huh?”
“My towel?” she said, moving towards the bed and pulling the towel from his neck. She noticed the blood, and her face went two shades of red. “And there’s blood on it, you asshole!”
Jay sat up, holding his hand to his neck, feeling something dry and scabbed. “Are you kidding me?” he said. “I was attacked by a fucking bird today, and you’re worried about your precious towels.” He jumped out of bed.
She recoiled a bit, never having seen her boyfriend act so aggressively. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t realize it.”
Jay grabbed the towel from her hands and threw it on the ground. “You better be sorry, bitch!” And then he stormed from the room. Clarissa remained only a moment longer, and then she was after him, not ready to let this go just yet. Outside, on the perch of a new birdhouse, a certain bird bobbed its head and watched, fading sunlight glistening on its blood-soaked beak.
“What makes you think you can talk to me like that, Jay? You have never talked to me like that,” Clarissa said.
Jay was sitting at the kitchen table, massaging his neck. “I’ve had a bit of a day,” he said.
Clarissa exhaled deeply, trying her best to understand the awkward turn of events. She pulled a chair out and sat down next to Jay. “I know. I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do?”
Jay turned away from her. “No,” he said.
“Do you think we should go see a doctor?” she asked.
“I’ll be fine, Clarissa. Really.”
“Can I at least look at it?”
Jay pulled his hand away from his neck sharply. Clarissa leaned in and looked. “Eww,” she said. “That’s pretty gross.”
“Idiot,” Jay mumbled under his breath. But he knew Clarissa had heard him.
She pushed her chair back and stormed out of the room. Jay could not have been happier.
They did not speak at all the rest of the night. Jay slept on the couch, and Clarissa bitched all the way to the bedroom. But by morning, something had changed inside of Jay. Something more than just his attitude. Something that a certain bird might show pride about if birds had pride that is. Jay thought that maybe they did.
His disdain for Clarissa had come on immediately. One minute he loved her and would do nothing to hurt her, and now he wanted nothing more than to punch her in her face. Everything about her annoyed him. Her very presence in the room made his skin ache. But it wasn’t just her. It seemed to be just about everything; The phone ringing, his cell phone, and that awful ping sound when he got a text message, even the passing of cars on the street outside.
The night on the couch left Jay with a terrible ache in his back. He could barely move, and his chest seemed to puff out more than usual. He sat up on the couch, arching his back and trying to work out the knot that had formed in his back. And that’s when Jay put his hand to his face and felt his nose. It was there, just like it had always been, but it was harder than normal. Jay jumped off the couch and ran to the bathroom.
If someone had told Clarissa that she would be fighting for her life with a boyfriend who was suddenly starting to take on characteristics of a bird, she would have said they were nuts! But that’s exactly the situation she found herself in when she woke up that fateful morning. She heard something in the bathroom. It startled her from her slumber, and she propped herself up on her elbow, listening intently. She heard glass shattering and jumped out of bed. And that’s when Jay crashed through the bathroom door and charged at her.
Clarissa sidestepped him easily and watched as he fell face-first on the bed. He bounced up and turned to face her. It would have been comical if it wasn’t so damn odd. And the first thing she noticed was his nose. It was sharp and seemed too smooth. She thought it looked like a beak, and it was coming right towards her.
“Oh my God! Jay, what is wrong with you?” she shouted.
Jay twitched, bobbing his head forth and back like a manic chicken. “I’m just coming to take care of you, baby. Gonna finish you off for good.”
Clarissa felt a bolt of tears coming, but she held them off, knowing that she needed to be strong right now. She backed up and felt the doorknob of the bedroom door bang against her lower back. She grabbed it, pulled it open, and ran from the room. Jay yelled behind her, screaming, and following.
Clarissa made it to the patio door, getting it partially open before she felt Jay’s hand grab her shirt collar. He yanked her back, and she nearly fell. Jay pulled her close and drilled his new, sharp nose into her neck. Blood squirted up into his face, and he recoiled, suddenly aware of what he had done. Clarissa screamed and pulled free from his grip. She pulled the patio door open far enough to get through and went outside. Jay grabbed her again, but this time she turned and pulled the patio door closed, slamming his arm at the elbow, shattering it. She watched him fall back behind the glass, his broken arm hanging limply at a very wrong angle. She knew she had shattered his arm, but judging by the squirting wound in her neck, it wasn’t his arm she was concerned about.
Clarissa looked after him only a moment longer, and then she turned and ran through the backyard. Behind her, Jay had crashed through the patio door.
“I’m coming, bitch!” he yelled.
Clarissa made one fatal mistake, and that was looking back to see where Jay was. And in that instant, she ran right into the post of the birdhouse. She slammed into it, spinning around and crashing to the ground. Above her, the birdhouse wobbled on its perch, teetered, and fell. Clarissa saw it all in slow motion. Jay was rushing towards her. Then there was the birdhouse descending towards her face. But when the sharp wooden corner of the birdhouse slammed into the bridge of her nose, shattering her face and driving hunks of bone into her brain, Clarissa saw nothing ever again.
And now there was only Jay, standing over the broken body of his Clarissa, looking at the mess that was his creation. He didn’t feel any remorse. He wasn’t sad about what had happened to Clarissa. If anything, he was pissed that his precious birdhouse was broken beyond repair, jammed into the skull of his girlfriend. That’s when the birds came.
That’s when the birds came; first two, and then a dozen more. They convened on Clarissa’s body, pecking and eating at her broken face. Jay watched, tilting his head in that curious way that birds do when they see something that they’re interested in. He could feel something moving on his back. A sound like wax paper being ripped free from his skin. He put his good arm behind him and felt what was back there. It felt like feathers.
He was growing wings.
The birds on Clarissa’s body stopped their feast and turned their attention to Jay. They watched as he writhed nearby, brown feathers growing all over his body. They watched his wings come free behind him, flapping slowly at first and then with greater force. They watched his legs bend backward at the knees, forming an odd Z shape. Jay, hunched low, brown feathered wings out wide behind him, and a sharp calcified beak on his face. Suddenly he was off, flying high into the air as the feasting birds let out a tremendous chirp beneath him. They would have been proud if birds had any type of feelings whatsoever. At that moment, only Jay knew the answer.