26th December, 2011
Vibrant afternoon hues gracefully relented to the purple shade of an advancing evening twilight as a swift sea breeze swept down the street in waves, shepherding groups of scattered leaves across the still-warm pavement like flocks of grazing sheep. Evening was gently descending on the vacant boulevard in the small town of Toronto Australia and for a moment I remained adamantine. Little bluebird, remind me what I'm doing here again, would you?
"Lost again are you? Typical escapist." sang the slanderous bluebird perched on my shoulder.
"It would seem so." I responded.
"There's always somewhere else we want to be in life, isn't there?"
I snickered to myself.
"Anyway, quicken the pace would you? You'll enjoy this one, after all it has been some time."
"Where exactly are we going?" I asked.
"That's for me to know and you to find out." replied the bluebird as it danced excitedly in the air, flying ahead of me towards a destination unknown.
I followed the bluebird up the hill along the cracked concrete path shrouded in the shadow of the public library, around the corner and towards the covered car park near the new Aldi supermarket.
"This way now." guided the bluebird.
How strange, I wondered. Down the ramp and off towards the far end of the car park was the family car, of all things, faithfully awaiting my arrival as it bathed in the final hour of sunshine.
"What's the car doing here?" I puzzled.
"Just get in already. It took you long enough to get here."
I reached down and pulled the handle on the car door. To my surprise, or should I say to my consternation, it was already unlocked. Just as well, I guess, as I didn't seem to have the car keys on me. Adverse enough of a that dilemma would've been, but it also led me to question how the car, much like myself, came to be here.
I heard a rustling behind me in the back seat. Slowly I turned around.
"Meow!" greeted none other than the family cat.
"I thought cats hated riding in cars?" I interrogated, of course not anticipating an intelligible response back from the animal mind you, but given the situation I was finding myself in I believed it to be a perfectly valid starting point nonetheless.
"Meow." replied the cat in the only way it could.
"Meow." asserted the cat.
"Done conversing with the feline like a total psychopath?" inquired the bluebird with much agitation as it perched on the rear-view mirror.
"Don't worry I wasn't going to feed you to him, tweety-pie."
"Tweety? Pfft, you already know I'm not really a talking bluebird. I mean, how silly would that be? A bluebird. Talking. You'd have to be nutters to believe in such a thing."
"Oh good, so I don't have to worry about the cat chewing on you then? Fine by me. Come here, kitty!" I intimidated jestingly.
I turned around after strapping myself into the drivers seat only to find the back seat of the car now suddenly vacant. Was the frisky little feline hiding under the driver's seat? Nope, nothing there. Under the passenger's seat? Still nothing. Windows? Closed. Doors? Also closed.
"He already left, bird brain." muttered the bluebird.
"Wh-what? Bird brain? Coming from you that's ... that's more of an insult than it aught to be!" I began rambling. "Anyway, how could he have left if the doors and windows were closed?"
"Eyes forward hotshot, we're on our way!" announced the bluebird.
My eyes were filled with the countenance of a crystalline sky. Gone was the seat I was fastened to, the car and the car park surrounding us, torn away suddenly like a magician's tablecloth. A rushing wind filled my ears with a deafening roar, amorphous cumulus drifted gracefully above and terrifyingly below. Loosing balance, I stumbled backwards on the narrow black and white striped path no more than a meter wide that spun a narrow web throughout the cerulean firmament. No land to be seen to either side.
"Better get up quick." prompted the bluebird. "Looks like there's a good swell on today."
Like waves of motion moving along a length of tightened rope, the path undulated up and down roller coaster style, bending with an elasticity into hills and valleys that crept along its boundless length in an unrelenting giant's stride. The first wave approached churning my stomach like riding a ferry in rough weather. I picked myself up off my posterior but came crashing down on my knees on the crest of the first wave.
"You're terrible at this, has anybody ever told you?" disparaged the bluebird.
"I can't say I've ever had to surf down a giant black and white unfathomably long twisted piece of licorice hanging in the sky before." I shouted before loosing my footing, rolling uncontrollably forward head first before my feet could follow.
"Meh, these things happen. You should get used to it."
With arms outstretched and with a warbling stance I staggered forward, slowly at first before the next wave again sent me hurtling down the dangerously narrow path. Succeeding that wave came another that hit even stronger, plastering me firmly into the surface like a bird jammed in the radiator of a speeding vehicle. As the crest approached, laying face down, I grabbed onto both ends of the peculiar polished plastic path in a vain attempt to try and ride this convulsing dragon but was sent flying as the path steeply reclined away from me with more force than I could muster to maintain my tenuous grip. I came crashing down and rolled to an inelegant heap at the bottom of the hill as the path sedated, counting my luck that I hadn't yet fallen off to either side.
"Already walking like a pro." ridiculed the bluebird. "Chin up cowboy, we're nearly there."
The clouds burned away and the sky quickly darkened without a sunset before extinguishing entirely like a moonless midnight. Slowly, one by one, distant stars began twinkling into existence above and below the dim horizon. Tiny at first, almost unfathomable pinholes of light that gradually grew in abundance. The narrow licorice path widened, assuming the form of a barren world obscured in a cimmerian shade. As the caliginous effluvium willingly relinquished its untenable dominance and I found I was not alone.
"What on earth is this place?"
"Who said anything about earth?" spoke the featureless silhouette standing next to me.
"Wha-who are you?"
"What, don't you recognize a little bluebird when you see one?"
"Some bluebird you turned out to be."
"Don't say I didn't tell you."
As my eyes came into focus I examined my surroundings. I seemed to be standing on a thick deck of glass which squeaked like polished laminate beneath my feet, exactly how thick I couldn't tell as nothing shone through it from below, however this thick deck of glass stretched out across the world forming a vast billowing landscape. A sporadic arrangement of barbed-wire botany coiled its way up from the thick glass deck below, like the craftsmanship of a master glass-maker, sharpened against touch, and with leaves like the tendrils of luminous jellyfish dancing with eminent grace in the subtle humid wind. All around the lives of every organism that called this alien world home shone individually with a meager brightness but collectively enough to illuminate our meandering path.
"Oh, here's something interesting." mentioned the silhouette as he pointed to a rather peculiar looking animal we were approaching on our directionless journey through the unidentified world.
I don't know what it was, it looked docile and moved slowly like a sloth but walked upright on two legs. The shade scooped up a handful of insect-like crawlies that had grouped together into a rancid ball by the base of a tree, leaned back then heaved it towards the creature striking it square in the back of the head. Why he did this I had no idea. The creature lurched to a halt and gazed about in what seemed like a momentary state of confusion appearing to be unable to determine the assailant despite our relatively close proximity. It scratched at the greasy fur on the back of its neck before continuing on its leisurely way oblivious as if no malicious act had been conducted.
"Ok, tell me there was there a reason why you did that?" I asked.
"Oh don't worry, we're perfectly safe. Well actually technically it is one of the most vicious animals we'll see here, but I assure you we're perfectly safe from it as long as we keep our distance." informed the shade.
"Should I start running ... ?"
"No ... no, well actually it is an ambush predator of a sort so it is very dangerous. I guess you could say that it's an ambush predator that eats other ... ambush predators, by disguising itself as a slow laggard animal." explained the shade. "and then when something is about to pounce on it ... wham!"
"That doesn't really answer my question."
"Don't worry, it won't attack unless you run up to it and like try and grab it, or something. As long as we stay a moderate distance away from it we'll be perfectly fine. Look, here you try it. It's fun, go ahead, just pick something up off the ground."
"Uhh, no thanks." I conceded.
"Ahh the circle of life, ain't it grand?"
"No, not terribly so."
"Such a pessimist. You should try being a bluebird, see things from a different perspective once in a while."
I continued wandering the dark glass world with the shade -- bluebird -- whatever and whoever it was until I awoke from the boxing-day dream.