This week’s flash fiction comes from a recent picture prompt. It’s included for emphasis … Enjoy!
Catharus sat upon the lilting tombstone singing. Normally her melodic echoes wrought joy from even the hardest heart or saddest soul. A thrush’s song worked wonders; miracles even. Things, however, weren’t working in her favor today. Scooting closer to the girl, she let loose another shrill trill of flute like music, certain this time she would obtain the reaction her tiny heart desired. Still, she got no response.
The girl had been sitting for hours, head hung low atop another slightly altered gravestone. Catharus watched her cry, feeling the need to offer the weeping child her exuberant thrush-like cheer with a tune of triumphant jubilee. Her kind were known to be exceptional singers, but apparently this young ghost of a girl had not been taught the ways of the thrush. After being ignored for several more songs, Catharus broke the cardinal rule. She spoke in the language of humans.
“Dear child, what ails you so that not even the majestic melodies I offer can’t bring a moment’s peace from your crying? There, there, dear … It’s okay. You’re going to be okay … ”
Expecting some sort of bewildered reaction at hearing a bird speak, Catharus once again dealt with the total disregard of her presence. Graveyards had long ago become her favorite pastime, for she loved nothing more than to aid in healing those broken hearted mourners who showed up to lay a loved one to rest. Often times her songs soothed random visitors on a rainy evening. Today none of her charms allowed for success.
As the sky darkened, the girl at last broke her heaving sob and spoke. An eerie grin rushed her face, and eyes of pale gray began to shine as the sun set. Her head twisted, and bile colored saliva splashed all about Catharus as the girl broke her unnatural vow of silence.
“Foolish bird! I am no child. You break God’s law by speaking, but your words are wasted. I am no human, nor am I am some pathetic soul lost wandering the earth. I am Nazrohath, Queen of Petulance! I rule over demons who rule over demons! You’re not the hapless mortal I’d hoped to dine on tonight, but I hear your kind tastes like chicken. I’m starving, so I guess a bird will have to do … ”
Catharus fluttered her wings, hovering slightly above the fallen monument where she had recently perched. Singing halted, and as the freshly revealed demon stood herself, sudden flashes of light birthed from the source of the bird wreaked havoc on the creature of darkness. The songbird spoke again, this time during a transformation.
“Well, it’s about time, Nazrohath. I’ve been waiting on you to open that filthy mouth of yours for hours. Seems you’ve been a naughty demon, and Gabriel got wind of it. God doesn’t like you very much, you know. And I’m sure Lucifer won’t very much after this … In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, I condemn you, Nazrohath, back to the eternal lake of fire from whence you came.”
Standing before the demon, the bird headed angel smirked, her speckled wings nestling behind her as the surprised and horrified demonic entity began to swiftly dissipate from the realm of the living. Light broke heavier, and in a final whoosh, Nazrohath disappeared completely from the cemetery. Her work done, Catharus looked about to ensure nothing had been seen or recorded. You could never be too sure with cell phones and all. The full moon bathed down, almost seeming to say the coast was clear. Shifting back into the tiny form of a thrush, she fluttered off, humming what seemed to be the theme from the movie, “Ghostbusters.”
James Matthew Byers resides in Wellington, Alabama with his wife, kids, a dog named after an elf, and two tortoises. He has been published in poetry journals and through Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL, where he received his Master’s in 2010. His epic poem, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, is coming soon from Stitched Smile Publications, LLC.
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