I take my wine out onto the terrace. The boyfriend sits there, next to the leering telescope. “It’s so quiet,” I say. “Where are all the birds?”
The boyfriend turns to look at me. “They’re up there. Just…way up there.”
“Where?” I say. “Why can’t I hear them?”
“Way up there. Since the sky fell, there’s nothing to hold them down by the world.” He smiles. “They’ve just been drifting higher and higher all day.”
Mr. Beakers takes up a song in his cage by the chair. His song is loud in the darkness. “You couldn’t send him with?” I ask. I notice that there’s a feather on the eyepiece of the telescope.
“Just think, that’s what every other sad sap with a bird is doing right now. ‘Be free! Go join your friends!’ And their birds are going up.” He smiles. “Pretty soon, Beakers will be the only bird left on earth.” There’s a pinion feather between his fingers.
I don’t mention penguins and cassowaries. I look into the tall steel cage. I notice that there are feathers in the cage. There are feathers on the ground. Without his emerald robe, Mr. Beakers looks disgusting. He flaps his wings at me.
Jillian Merrifield has an MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and is currently pursuing her PhD in English Studies at Illinois State University. Her work has previously appeared in Curbside Splendor, Midwestern Gothic, Eclectica and NEAT.