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Black Bird and Tripwire
5.13.2003 by Rosemary, every Tuesday.

These aren't strictly proper stories, in that they don't really feel complete to me. They're more like... writing... bits. (I am Ms. Eloquent!!) Pls. to leave comments.

The Soul of the Black Bird

In the garden of the King of Tashanta there were two great birds, one black and one white. The white bird ate only purple figs from the golden tree at the west end of the Greatest Pond. The black bird ate only the fat goldfish that hid in the reeds at the east end of the Greatest Pond.

There were no gardens as great as the garden of the King of Tashanta. Every flower on every tree sparkled, and every eighth flower of the ground sang music. There was all manner of strange animal in the garden, from long-nosed Elephanturs endemic to the faraway kingdoms of Troile, to small bushy Wombits imported specially from the distant land of Unt. In the daytime the trees and flowers broke the sunlight into complicated patterns that fell on the soft grass, and at night, all paths were lighted by floating magic spheres, yellow and cold to the touch. Such were the gardens of the King of Tashanta.

The most celebrated wonders therein, however, were the two birds, the black bird and the white bird who stalked the Greatest Pond. They were slender and tall, and their legs were striped like a barber-pole, red and blue. It was commonly reported that the soul of a great sage had been imprisoned in the body of the white bird. Just who might think and move inside the black bird was an enduring mystery.


Dev was born with a small piece of string protruding from his neck. It was an ordinary white string, cotton, multiple weaves, and Dev's pediatrician, Doctor Blastic, was quite puzzled by it. In mint-green antiseptic hospital labs he and his cabal of blonde nurses x-rayed the boy many times. Still puzzled, the Doctor drew schematic diagrams at home in black felt-tip marker on Tim Hortons napkins. Finally he called Dev's mother into the lab one warm spring morning.

"Elena," said Doctor Blastic, "I have a few points to make about the string."

Elena, ever-worried, pressed a pale slender hand against her fluttering chest. "Is it serious, Doctor?"

Blastic smiled in gentle condescention to see her rabbitly panic. "Don't worry, Elena. I assure you that the string, though inexplicable, is perfectly harmless. All you must remember is that if anyone pulls on the string all of Dev's internal organs will fall out and he will die."

Dev lived an ordinary life on a sunny street where the asphalt almost ran under the summer heat, and where winter was a pleasant enough time if one didn't mind all the runny noses. He grew up and went to school, and then a bigger school, and then he packed his things, kissed a teary Elena on the cheek, and went off to college.

Halfway through his second year, Dev met a girl named Tarb at a small party. "Hello Tarb," he said, a little softly, because she was quite dark and pretty.

"You're the boy with the string," said Tarb flatly.

"Yes," said Dev, sighing a little.

"Scary, musn't it be, having the string," said Tarb. She looked closely at it, squinting. She seemed intrigued.

"Yes," said Dev. Tarb's scrutiny made him a little uncomfortable. "At first it was hard to live with, but over the years I worked on forgetting it. I live a rich life now," he added brightly. "Finally, after so many years, I believe that I have put the whole business far behind me."

"Not far enough," said Tarb darkly, and she thrust out a hand and pulled.

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