Read Skin Walker, Part 2 Here
“Did you hear about the girl who was killed several days ago?” Asked Nate.
I immediately shook my head in response. “No.” But I had. I recalled those eyes, her eyes as they stared through me on that morning.
I leaned back in my chair and resumed my story. “…So anyway, while these cattle, black cows, eat, they always seem to be facing the windows of my apartment… like they are watching my moves. And they are always at the right head level to be looking into the windows of whichever room I am in.”
“Are we back on the black cows, mate?”
“Yes!” I responded with a bit of acrimony.
“So these cows are watching you? Like a stake out?” Nate responded sarcastically.
“Yeah…kinda like a stake out.” I replied.
“So like dumb cows are actively watching your every move?” Nate paused and then burst into uncontrollable laughter. “Maybe we should be tracking your movements as well.”
I poked my head above my cubicle and looked around at the den of gopher holes, hoping Nate’s outburst hadn’t drawn unwanted attention. I looked over the tops of the heads of nearly one hundred birds replicating the same uninterrupted, drone like movements that gave the room a plastic smell and feel.
Sitting back down, I glared up at Nate. “Shut up.” I said, squeezing the words through clenched teeth. What the hell did he know. He was a Bird. Born a Bird. There are just certain perspectives, certain points of view that people who haven’t had the experience can’t even approach. I rolled my eyes and placed my attention back on the orderliness of my desk. “Don’t you have something better to do?” I was giving him five more minutes before he would need to move on. I didn’t want anyone coming to the erroneous notion that I wasn’t a hard working, human. I was usually the earliest to arrive and the latest to leave, except for the day, that day, the incident with the crows and the girl happened.
Then I heard a sound that resembled knuckles rapping against a door, which is impossible because I sat in the middle of a cubicle farm; smack dead in the middle. Well, maybe almost in the middle. Tommy was actually seated in the middle, symmetrically speaking. I tried to trade cubicles with him with no luck because my position felt a little off putting and irksome with its bucking of linear organization.
Knock, knock, knock. I heard the sounds again. The only doors that could be knocked belonged to the prison guards that sat in the glass offices around the edge of the Great Hall as I referred to it.
I looked up at Nate to see if he’d had a reaction to the sounds, but he was still droning on about nothing. “Mister Clayton’s been roving around and making his presence felt on the floor today…Probably some bug up his–”
I heard, yet another knock. This time the sound was accompanied by a damp and earthy smell. “Did you hear that?” I asked Nate.
“Hear what?” He replied.
“I could hear a knocking sound as clear as day…just a minute ago.” I said. “Do you smell something…that has…that has kind of an earthy smell to it?”
“Only you.” Nate cocked his head and laughed. “Between the surveillance cows and knocking sounds, I think you may want to seek out some professional help.”
“Jerkface!” I said, slanting my mouth sideways. “Get out of here, Nate. Keep it moving.”
“Cheers, then.” Said Nate, still laughing. “I gotta get back to my cubicle and work on some more spreadsheet magic, anyway.”
I waved Nate away. I needed to finish my own morning tasks in order to stay on schedule. My workplace Hyde was the epitome of fastidious work which was totally opposite to my Jekyll of a home life.
“Now just, press send.” I quietly said to myself, feeling the warm glow of accomplishment fall over me, just as my stomach began to rumble. “Alright, alright, food is on its way.” I could hear the beeps of the microwave buttons being pressed and I could smell food drifting out of the kitchen.
“Hey! You got a minute?” Turk said, sticking his head into my cubicle.
Exasperated, I rotated around to respond, when I noticed his eyes drop down to the box of fried chicken sitting on my desk. I looked at the box. He looked at me. I looked up at him. Then we both looked back at the box, before reestablishing eye contact. “Hey, no judgement here. I love fried chicken.” Said Turk. “Anyway, Matt caught wind of the prototype presentation and would like for us to present it to him, tomorrow afternoon!”
My eyes widened. “Really?”
We exchanged hi-fives and ambitious grins seeded with dreams of sugar plums and candy canes. “Cool. Well let’s get together later?”
Picking up my lunch, I walked toward the kitchen. As I made my way to the microwave, I overheard a conversation in passing. “So I turn the corner and I’m like what neighborhood am I in.” The other Bird listened intently. “I passed by a couple of houses and I see these porch monkeys drinking a forty, two of them white and a light brown female with green eyes — amazing green eyes–”
“I dated a human with green eyes…” Interrupted the other Bird. “This human was slick! She was a little crazy though. I mean…I only dealt with the crazy because she was so hot.”
“It’s amazing that humans actually evolved their way out of the mud.” Laughed the other Bird.
Both Birds looked up and simultaneously acknowledged my presence. “Hey Kyle,” they said before continuing on with their conversation. I didn’t know which was more scary, their level of familiarity and ease with my human, quasi-Bird presence, that they continued on with their conversation, in the same manner or my inability to react to it. I’d become good at suppressing my initial reactions to things, in order to simply maintain my projected illusion of Bird and not jeopardize what little I had worked so hard to achieve.
It was the end of the day. I shut my laptop and shut my mind for a few moments. I leaned back in my chair and breathed in deeply.
“…Samaritan.” I heard whispered on the air.
I stopped and looked around, but there was no one else present. Everyone had gone home for the day. I laid back in my chair and sniffed at the air. The earthy and damp smell had returned. I stood up to get a better sense of where the smell was coming from.
In the cubicle to my left stood a Bird, a girl, covered in blue and white feathers. The back of her head was facing me. I took inventory of her, noticing splashes of blood and missing feathers. She sat perched atop the desk. The curvature of her body traced it’s way down from her shoulders to her hips while hovering just above the surface.
She turned to face me, when I recognized the eyes. I recognized her eyes. Jumping back against the wall, I clasped my hands to my head. My eyes were nearly closed, while I squinted in the grip of extreme pain. The pressure was so intense. A rush of images flooded my mind. I relived the pain of her assault that morning. The moment felt so vivid and so real. The girl’s arm reached for me through the rapid succession of images, while I remained against the wall, rocking back and forth from the pain.
Then all at once the pain subsided. I opened my eyes to see the girl was gone. Looking around the room, I found no trace of her. Neither was the earthy smell still present. I took a deep breath and rubbed my face while closing my eyes.
To be continued…
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