Everyone looked at the birds, focused on the birds, and I understand why they did. I do. I really do, so I’m not saying it wasn’t important, or that it didn’t have any bearing on anything that came after. It was big. It was strange and caught your attention. So, yeah, I get it. Besides, when was the last time you’ve seen fifty thousand plus birds nose dive into cement without any sign of provocation?

And not a nosedive that turned into a gentle fall, like those raptor, falcon things do on those nature documentaries that that one British guy with the wheezy sleepy voice talks over.

I’m talking about a full blown, balls to the wall, kamikaze style death plunge; right in the middle of a pedestrian shopping area. Right in the middle of a pretty little place in the middle of a pretty little city, where adults and children and babies and every other form of those three went about their pretty little lives being happy and making their little world pretty. And then…

So, yeah. Plenty of people—hell, most of the people I’ve heard talking, anyways—focus on the birds. Happy street, happy people, suicidal birds, dead people, fires, and a literal torrent of blood running to the storm drains. Kubrik’s elevator made manifest. But no one except nobody is talking about the other thing. Like… the thing.

At the edge of the video—the shaky, grainy one taken by the camera on the corner of a Kum and Go station—on the left side, where there’s next to no street visible, you can see the top of the head of a woman and her baby. Well, you can’t see the baby at the beginning of the video, cause it was probably in a stroller or something like it. The woman had her hair up in a bun and even though the video was taken on a freaking potato, you could still see that she looked worried—worried before the birds fell.

And who knows? Maybe she was having a rough go of it that morning? Maybe her kid was annoying the shit out of her (might explain what happened later)? Or, hell, maybe she just had to shit real bad and was trying not to let it loose in her pants. Maybe, maybe, maybe. That’s all there is anymore. No definitive anything. After everything happened, after all the birds did their best impression of a jackhammer, she was gone.

“There have been no confirmed sightings of this woman,” the news pundits said, safe and sound in their little studio, while the rest of us have to hide. “However, authorities have stated that this woman is still a person of interest, and anyone with information regarding her identity or where she can be found are encouraged to call the number at the bottom of your screen…”

The news station didn’t show the part about the baby. And it didn’t show what happened afterward. You had to dig around to find it; having it be passed along like the old school gross out videos of the early ought’s; finding it popping up in people’s emails and texts and things like that. And when you saw the title, you had to watch it. There was no way you couldn’t. Everyone had to watch it. There wasn’t an exception. At least, I don’t know of one. Maybe there is that odd duck out there that was able to turn away from it and say, “Nah, that’s not for me.” Maybe a guy like that exists, but if he does, then I’ve never heard of him.

Hell, I wish I were him.

Because, just like every other dumbass that decided to open that video, I regretted it. There’s those videos on the internet, those archaic ones—the videos of anti-legend; ones involving cups and jars and girls and a guy—that are steeped in a certain amount of fame and disgusting prestige. They’re horrible, but they continue to be loved because of how disgusting they are. And then there are those videos that aren’t famous, that nearly no one has heard of, and are infinitely more disturbing. Meth induced infanticide; snuff; recorded suicides; videos that shouldn’t exist, that scar and sear their shape and sound and flavour into the brain of the watcher and pour poison into their soul.

And maybe I’m waxing poetic, and I have had a lot to drink, but—at least in my opinion—those disgusting videos couldn’t hold a candle to the end of the bird death video. Nothing I’ve seen has—wait. Just a second. I’ll be right back.

There’s not a lot of time anymore. At least not around here. I don’t know about the rest of the world. For all any of us know, Paris and Tokyo and Moscow and all of them could be totally fine; pinkies in the air sipping tea and smoking those thin cigarettes they always have and eating sushi and whatever it is that Russians eat.

Maybe they’re all fine.

And you know what? If they are? Good for them. Good for them for shrugging off the birds and the bleeding trees and the… Yeah. Yeah, good for them.

But yeah, there’s not a lot of time anymore. That’s what the radio was saying earlier. There’s not a lot of time. I’m not sure what that means, because they certainly didn’t provide any sort of context. Weeks? Months? Decades? Hours? Seconds? I don’t know. We’ve been at this for five months already, so what do any of those words mean?

I was talking to Jerry and a few of the other guys over on the next block—which, “Hey Mrs. La Rosa Castille. If you see this, I’m sorry for my language, but I hope you and Lupe are doing well. I miss your tamales.” But yeah, I wanted to get that out there, so… So, I was saying about me and the boys—we were talking about what the radio said and were trying to figure things out, and I think that the nearest any of us got to a good answer was that the radio meant like ten days or so. Lobern said two weeks max, but no less than seven.

And I don’t know why that sounded right, but it does. So, that’s what I’m counting on.

I just… It doesn’t make any sense, does it? All of this—all the pain and and and just bullshit that’s goin’ on all around—the rain! Like, how does that even happen? Or the frozen people over on 67th? Like, what made them that way? Why is any of this happening, and why to us? What did we do, huh? Like, wha… What did… tsss… Nah, I’ve… I’ve done this before. A lot. Like, whomever’s watching this? There’s so much I didn’t put in, and a lot of it was crap like that: whining, questioning, crying, and blah blah blah. But it never solves anything or gives any clear answers, so I don’t include it. No point, right?

Besides, I’m sure y’all will have had this figured out and are just looking at us like we’re a bunch of ignorant hicks that couldn’t see the answer biting them on the nose. All you future people have it set.

I wish I could see you…

It hit the water. I don’t know how it got past the cap, but it did. Now everything’s undrinkable, and we’re going to die. Like, as a for sure thing now.

Not like last year. Like, we were so off last year. Two weeks max? Hindsight is 20/20, for sure. Taking a few risks and making the best of a horrible situation, a lot of us were able to work our way into service over at the Temple. It’s ugly work and I’m fairly certain I lost most of my mind in the first two days. I miss my fingernails. And so it goes… Lobern and Lupe had to work the Harvesters over above Chantsville. Lobern fell and added himself to the Pulp Plots; falling five and a half kilometers won’t do a body any good. Lupe took over for him, and last I heard he was still doing well; still working the clouds and refining Souls; still serving the Eyeless One in fervent duty. But I’m sure that that’s changed, because…

Someone attacked the Temple five days ago.

Someone brought a crate of explosives into the temple and set it off.

A few Servants were killed, but the structure remained perfect; none of the artifacts or holy symbols were scarred; and the idiot who did that was gracious enough to be blown apart in his own foolish attempt to bring Them down. But that didn’t leave the rest of us immune to Judgement.

We ran, and a few of us got away.

But then the plagues returned and one by one, our heat, our shelter, our food, and now our water were destroyed, reduced, blighted. And now we are going to die.

Honestly? It doesn’t sound so bad anymore. I could use a…

But… Wait. They’re… No! It wasn’t—It’s still Sun up! It’s still Sun up! You can’t do this! Not yet! N-

**(falling to the floor, the phone slides over the sticky dirt and rests against his finger, the screen touching the pad of his lifeless pinky, the weight of the phone driving his finger to select repeat. A spasm in his hand flips the phone to the ground, screen facing the black veined bleeding sky, the video selected playing…)**

-outdoor shot. The corner of the store facing the street where the shadow of a large flock of birds moves back and forth like a slithering cloud. A woman walks into frame at the bottom left of the screen, looking down at something. Two seconds pass, and there is no movement from the woman. She lifts her arms into view above her head; she is holding a baby. The woman shouts something the camera doesn’t hear, she swings the baby against the brick wall next to her, over and over. The baby is screaming and bleeding. She drops the baby after the fifth impact. The flock of birds, at the same time, plummets into the street, snapping powerlines that set fires, and smashing into men, women, and children, all of whom die. The street fills up with blood, and the sunny day darkens with clouds. The woman in the bottom left looks up to the clouds and shouts something, then bursts into flames. The video crackles into static, then-

-outdoor shot. The corner of the store facing the street where the shadow of a large flock of birds moves back and forth like a slithering cloud. A woman walks into frame at the bottom left of the screen, looking down at something…

If you liked this, check out some of these other disturbing stories.

The Death Loop

A young man finds himself stuck in a time loop where he is forced to relive his suicide over and over and over.

Pox: Love And Sulfur

Airports are strange places. Waiting for his love to meet him, Bezel finds out the hard way just how strange they can truly be.

1 Comment

  1. I don’t even understand why you allow garbage stories like this on the site. DPW used to have quality stuff… Just lost another subscriber. Bye

    Liked by 1 person

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