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Talking Bird

Dream I Ė The talking bird.

Chapter 1 - The Forest

Midnight, Matthew dreamt. This time it was a dark forest. His steps landed on the tangling undergrowth sprawled through the forest-floor, which was quite silent besides the screeching of the broken boughs and crackling of the insect bodies beneath his bare feet. Occasionally, some small hairy things crossed his path ahead, but his sight caught nothing when it was dragged by the clumsiness of the green light that passed through the forest-top far above. Through the hopeless dimness, a putrid smell came uninvited into his nostrils. Maybe it was some decaying leaves or maybe it was some half eaten animals left by its predators.

There was some rustling in the branches above, squirrels, rats or maybe bats. Matthew stopped and listened, made sure whatever on top wasnít going to swoop down suddenly. Just then, the noise died as if the whole forest was waiting for him. The lengthening of the pause sank coldly into his heart. He tried to make a noise himself, to make a giggle or to tell a joke to the trees. But when he opened his mouth, he was choked by the smell. The smell made him so sick, so guilty that Matthew wanted to cry but he didnít. "Silly me," he thought, "itís just a dream."

So he rested his body on the sickening moss of a nearby tree and his skin felt the slimy dampness on its surface. The whole forest was aloof of his ill fortune. Not a tree gave him a gentle touch. Not a tree mentioned a sympathy word. He hated the barren darkness that blinded his eyes, the unfriendly warmness that shrouded his skin and the stagnant silence that deaf his ears.

"Hey you!" a voice broke the stillness.

It must be the talking bird again,

"Fifteen phantoms on the tree,

One with a broken knee,

Two have swallowed by the sea,

A dozen will die as you would see."

It said with a merry voice.

With the flapping sound of its wings, a few leaves fell down from the dark heaven, joining the family of dead leaves on the forest floor. "Hurry up." It said and flew.


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