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The Bird of Happiness

by Oksana Vasilenko

Copyright Oksana Vasilenko 2012

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I’ve never been afraid of the night, but now I am. I’m drinking cup after cup of strong coffee, I wander around the house restlessly, I turn on the TV full blast and the only thought in my head is to stay awake.

Don’t fall asleep, stay awake, no, you mustn’t, don’t fall asleep, sleeeep…

It’s impossible to win this battle. Sooner or later I give in and my consciosness dissolves. And then I have a dream — it’s always the same dream.

The low grey sky weighs heavily on my shoulders. There is no day or night at this place, it’s always the same eternal dusk. There is no summer or winter, but the eternal late autumn with chilly fog and icy winds. Narrow streets are winding round and round, crossing each other, weaving in and out — and lead nowhere. There is nothing but the City here — a gloomy and grey city.

Along those streets, standing side by side, there are cold buildings of grey stone with empty black eye sockets of windows. No light ever shines in those windows. I don’t even know whether anybody lives in those buildings or whether all the City residents just wander around the streets all the time. Men and women, young and old — all of them are just plodding along, silently, their heads down, having no idea where they are going. At this place nobody laughs, nobody sings, nobody cries. They aren’t even human: instead of a body, they have a cage, just like an ordinary bird cage, and the head, the arms and the legs are attached to this cage. It’s a walking cage with some grey lump inside which is stirring weakly from time to time. I must look exactly the same for nobody pays any attention to me. Actually, the locals seem to never pay any attention to anything at all. They keep wandering around aimlessly, absolutely indifferent to everything.

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