That would be silly. He’s on the other side. A little higher than the heart, I think–that’s where I feel the fluttering. When I cough, or lose my breath, or just hold very, very still when he thinks I’m not paying attention.
The fault is mine. I caught him. I put him there. One lung down, the other failing, and so I did what any sensible man would do – caught a mythological creature, bound it to my breast with half-understood magics, and lived in fear of its leaving every moment thereafter.
Because the bird will leave someday. That I know. He will burst through the bars of his prison and shatter them. Shatter me. Leave me behind, broken and gasping and empty, and forget me as he flies away. He is immortal, after all. Were I to keep him for a hundred years, it would be as nothing to him. But he will be free.
This will happen. I have seen it in a dream, heard it in the song he sings late at night when sane men have long since gone to sleep. He is warning me, I think. It is a kindness, or a warning, or a torment. His ways are inscrutable, as, perhaps they should be. He is, after all, eternal. He is, after all, not human.
He hasn’t left me yet. I don’t know why. Pity, perhaps. Or fear.
About Richard Dansky
Named one of Gamasutra’s Top 20 Game Writers, Richard Dansky is the Central Clancy Writer for Ubisoft/Red Storm. He has written for groundbreaking series such as Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six, as well as contributing extensively to tabletop RPGs in White Wolf’s World of Darkness setting. Richard is the author of five novels, including Firefly Rain. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their inevitable cats.