Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entry #184

The Last Bird on Earth
by Michael Pelc


In the late fall of a year that had yet to be, they gathered by the hundreds in the foothills west of Pecos, bringing with them their hopes for fame and glory and immortality, and their telescopic sites. For it was here that the bird had been spotted. Each more eager than the next to be the one who would be forever known as the slayer of the last bird on earth, they staked out their sites, built their blinds, loaded their weapons, and hunkered down against the cold of a gray and lifeless November sky.

It was Langston who was the first to spot it, catching a glimpse of the creature through the branches of a pinion nut tree as it soared upon the unseen updraft of a rogue wind that blew from the north. Bracing the stock of his rifle against his shoulder, he gathered the bird within his sight and led it across the sky. His hand steady, his aim true, he squeezed the trigger.

The bullet split the morning silence. The bird fell back to earth.

And so it came to pass in that time that not yet was, that the last bird on earth had been slain. And man found, quite to his surprise, that with its passing he had forevermore lost the ability to dream. For dreams, it seems, are fragile things. They are as delicate as a moment, and as fleeting as a silhouette. Or so it was that once they were.

25 comments:

Aniket said...

Interesting how you related dreams to bird or flight.

Makes one wonder how each of us relate flight as a pure, blissful action of freedom and joy.

It would be a shame if we kill them all.
I liked the honesty in those last lines. Well written.

Sharon Poppen said...

Very effective color as to description of the area and ethos of the people. A sad tale delivering a frightening warning. As always. Well done.

Tara said...

This has a great flow. I like the correlation between dreams and birds.

Laurel said...

There is a lot to love about this. What you did with the time setting is fascinating; set in the future and told in past tense. I like the way you phrased it, too. in that time that not yet was.

I also like the unknown consequence of killing the last bird.

wrath999 said...

The bullet split the morning silence, Great line and a vivid tale. I enjoyed it

Bernita said...

Arrgh!
The mis-spelling of "sites" in " telescopic sites" spoiled an otherwise descriptive and reflective piece for me, but your last paragraph is particularly lovely.

Preeti said...

beautiful. beautiful.

this is such a well-thought out piece. i was wondering where you would go with it and i was glad it ended the way it did.

Liked. Very much.

lena said...

I truly enjoyed reading, the flow is just too good. Liked the last paragraph the most.

sandra seamans said...

This reads like poetry, Michael. Beautiful and sad all at once.

laughingwolf said...

what bernita said...

Anonymous said...

Very well written. It has a nice flow to it. I'm no sure about the title. --JR

McKoala said...

Lovely idea.

Crafty Green Poet said...

like the story of the last passenger pigeon. We'll lose so much when the last bird goes...

Craig said...

I enjoyed the way you brought it back to the central theme. A satisfying conclusion to a well written piece.

Kartik said...

A very beautiful and effective work. Satisfying as well!

Meghan said...

I also like the connection between dreams and birds. Great job.

truevoid said...

last few lines are very very good!

pjd said...

It can never be said enough that the bonds between people and nature are many and complex.

JaneyV said...

There is a real feeling of "It has all happened before - it will all happen again" about this piece.

I liked the idea and the way you told it.

I hope we don't drive our dreams to extinction...

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

The small details make the piece stand out - pinion nut tree, foothills west of Pecos, etc.


Something I Might Tweak

It's strange to me that there are all those people waiting to kill the last bird and not a big group of PETA type people trying to save it.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Same for me, Aerin. But I rather like the difference. I also think this bird might have been spotted in the southern U.S. Lots of hunting going on there and none of it about culling the herd.

Love the connection to dreams as well.

Harper said...

Just read not to along ago about the The Last Auk that disappeared for food for fishing boat crews, ladies' fine hats and egg collectors. When last mating pair was killed; they'd had one egg and it got broken during the slaughter. Thanks for writing about our relentless drive to destroy the earth for its animal and plant inhabitants—of course, ultimately that must also include us.

Aimee Laine said...

Beautifully poetic! Reminded me of the movie Bees (with Jerry Sienfeld). Us stupid humans think we know everything until we rid ourselves of it all and then find the consequences. Very well written!

Chris Eldin said...

Beautiful metaphor. Very nice writing!

catvibe said...

Oh just so lovely.