THE DAY THE BIRDS FELL OUT OF THE SKY | Ambika Thompson

“It’s the beginning of the end,” the father said to his kids. The youngest, Annie, made tracks in her mashed potatoes with her fork, marvelling at the groups of parallel lines. “Can we go outside and witness God’s work?” asked her brother, the phoney pious believer in plaid pants, as Annie liked to think of him. “No. God is punishing us for being sinful. It won’t be long now,” said the father while shaking his head as if he was listening to a really groovy song, then he held his finger to his lips in order to silence nobody but himself: “Shhhh.”

Thud. A blackbird landed on the roof above them. Annie stood up, “I’d like to pack my bag for the apocalypse now, Dad.” The father nodded, while smiling proudly, “Good idea. As soon as your mother gets home, we’ll head north.” The father had claimed consistently that God had told him that salvation was in Winnipeg, Canada, for reasons that could not be disclosed. He assured his children, when they proclaimed their most heartfelt wishes not to go, that Winnipeg would be where those that went to heaven would meet for their apocalyptic ascension.

Annie went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet, and let out a deep, disgruntled sigh as she felt the blood descending from inside of her for the very first time. She searched the cupboards for her mother’s sanitary napkins, but only found tampons which she heard would take away her virginity, so she wrapped a snake of toilet paper around her underpants at least a dozen times, then carefully and slowly waddled to her room, where she stood motionless at the window watching the blackbirds rain from the heavens. The front porch light went on as her brother ran out wearing a hockey helmet and wielding a tennis racket, attempting to hit the birds as they fell. He missed every time.

A falling blackbird hit the father’s car, smashing the front window and setting the car alarm off. The father came running out, yelling and waving his arms in the air, just as her brother finally made contact with a bird which experienced flight for one final time before colliding with the side of the father’s head.

Annie looked away and down at her mom’s fashion magazine sitting on her desk which lay next to her Crystal Barbie. Both Crystal and the creamy coloured woman in the yellow polka dot bikini on the cover with the C-cup breasts smiled up at her. Annie yawned, turned from the window, went to her bed, and laid down slowly and gently onto her back over the covers for fear of getting them dirty. She listened to the car alarm, and her father screaming at her brother, and squinted her ears as hard as she could to try and see if she could hear her insides evacuating her uterus, but was jolted abruptly by another thud on the roof. She gave up and closed her eyes, gripped her belly, and thought calmly to herself, “This truly is the beginning of the end.”

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Ambika Thompson is a mother, musician, and writer living in Berlin. She has contributed short stories to NPR Berlin and Fanzine, and has had her stories shortlisted for the Reader Short Story 2012 & the Fresher Writer Prize 2015 contests. She publishes a short story a day on her blog “Kinda Very Short Stories” because she can, and is also one half of the cello riot grrl band Razor Cunts. http://ambikathompson.com

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