Way back in 2015, I submitted a short-story to a competition called “The Write Track”–I didn’t think much of it, my eyes honestly just seeing the $1000 prize and deciding that I, in my genius, would come up with something extraordinary on the spot and take out the first prize because “I’m excellent”.
I got a participatory award.
Regardless, they offered me a page in their anthology book, which is somewhere in my bookshelf at home–it’s this massive thing that cost up to $100 for the first edition, assuming they had more than one edition. However, nostalgia got the best of me, and I went looking for the book (and my work) online to exploit it’s being published for a place in my personal blurb. I found the piece I wrote, but the book is now unavailable for purchase.
There was a bird today, in the lobby of my school. It was a common pigeon looking thing, coloured mostly with grey feathers and brown eyes. It was about the size of my foot. It was scared. Two teachers were trying desperately to force it out of the room (comprised mostly of windows, and of course, the bird can’t tell the difference between the exit and see-through glass panels, so it ends up flying smack bang into one of the many windows).
I can’t stand seeing animals in a frightened state, and most of all, I am unable to stand around and watch whilst two grown men wave their arms around like immature children, making horrific cat noises, despite the bird already being distressed.
It was when they brought out a piece of cardboard in hopes of smacking it out of the room did I actually intervene. I told them I’d handle it, that I had a study period before my next class. They left, presumably to sit their own classes down, and left me alone with the bird – the only instruction to not touch it, as it was wild and could have harmful diseases. A “yes, of course” was enough for them to feel confident in my ability and leave the room.
I didn’t stare at the bird in fear of frightening it further, but I still had it in my gaze. It was frozen in place – the only indication that it hadn’t died on its feet being its heavy breathing, too quick for even that of a small bird. The teachers had scared it out of its wits, and continually flying into windows had dazed it further. With slow movements, I made sure the door s were completely open (another mistake on the teachers parts, as only one of the double doors had been left ajar for it to escape) and gently stepped behind it. It was still frozen solid. It didn’t even flinch when a student stomped past it.
Finally, after what felt like hours, the bird took a step forward, its head moving ever so slightly towards the door. I gave its tail feathers an extraordinarily gentle nudge of my foot – I would have picked it up had it not have been so scared. I had to remember that not all birds were like my pineapple conure at home. Thankfully, I wasn’t required to give it a second nudge; when I stepped an inch closer, the bird walked towards the door. I kept behind it, giving it an incentive to leave, but did my best to avoid looking like a predator in the eyes of the bird. But one by one, with the pit-pat of its tiny feet, it’d found itself outside. It stood just outside the door for another minute, before its wings finally outstretched, and the dazed look in its eyes disappeared before it flew away, a little more confident than what it had been before.