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 Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]

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Jay

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PostSubject: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:55 am

Maud remembered the video; it had stuck out to her especially out of every one in her Youtube search history, mingled between music videos from amateur rappers and documentaries about cat ladies. It was under two minutes long and titled 'BEST trained canary EVER?" She would sometimes go on marathons watching canaries do crazy canary shit, but this one was simple enough that it compelled her. She grabbed Fred the next morning and took out to the courtyard, the bustling center of her new school.

The pet store had a sign when she got Fred, plastered by rows of birdshit-covered cages: Don't let them outside. Maud was a different bird owner, however. She didn't clip its wings (because what kind of sick asshole did that to a bird?), and she fed it pieces of cookies and chips when she ran out of birdseed. She'd call it dessert night, and Fred survived all of their unorthodox adventures, so what was a pet store to tell her? She'd stolen him anyway, so she figured she was exempt from their rules.

Besides, every animal trainer had an audience, and Fred always flew the most freely with the wind on his back. He'd only tried to escape three or four times in their relationship, and he came back ten to five hundred minutes later every time.

Maud perched him on a low-hanging branch and backed up. The little yellow bundle was bright as a taxi, and he whistled like a driver stuck in traffic, flapping his wings every now and again and never making anything out of it. Maud whistled too. She held out her arm like she was balancing plates on the side of her knuckle, and began frantically snapping. The bird's eyes darted around. He fluttered his wings again, rousing Maud's heart, but didn't move.
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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:20 pm

Like a real life Cinderella.

An audience of one had already approached. Evander held his hands in his jacket pockets, head cocked toward the bright lemon colored bird whistling from the branches, before swiveling his gaze toward the girl with all the sick snaps. You saw more unusual things every day, but he still had to stop and stare. He didn't speak at first, content to listen to the strange language of whistles and clicks between the two, before he moved to speak. "She's a good soprano." His eyes were on the canary, popping out like a yellow lightbulb against the Dakotas' dull browns and grays and greens. "Does she have a name?"


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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:38 pm

Maud rarely ever got approached. She didn't know why, she always thought of herself as very approachable. In a way, she liked to operate outdoors whenever she did something weird, in hopes that someone would take notice. That's what she did when she tried to learn how to dance, and even got her apartment doorman to tango with her.

It took hours usually for a comment, however. Which made her so surprised to get one in only five minutes.

"It's a he, his name is Fred," Maud said. "And I don't watch television, so don't go talking to me about any Sopranos." It may have come across as aloof, but Maud was more distracted than anything. She was busy snapping at Fred, who in turn fluttered its wings and occasionally hopped along the branch. She hadn't even looked at the boy, and wasn't sure if he was there or just a voice gone undiagnosed in her head.
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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:22 pm

Snappy. "Fred's an excellent tenor then. I'm pretty sure that one's not a TV show." He moved his eyes off the pet and onto the master. Bright pastel hair like her bright pastel bird, a splotch of color in this rugged campus. Some kids back in his neighborhood could turn into birds, but that was mundane in this city. Those were ugly things, eagles and buzzards and ravens, real nasty up close when they were pissed. And if they were transformed in the first place, it meant they were pissed. But a girl and her canary and nothing else? That actually caught his interest. Maybe she could speak to avian creatures, or she brainwashed animals to do her bidding, or she turned unsuspecting strangers into canaries, but they all had their special strand of disease. "What about you? Do you have a name?"


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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:02 pm

Maud thought for a moment. Even something as simple as a name had to be deliberated for the perfect response. Once a teacher asked her what time it was, and she regurgitated a whole documentary on clocks she'd watched on Netflix the night prior. Seemed like the perfect opportunity.

"Maud." She hummed a tune and flicked her cheek towards the boy, the only sort of recognition she'd given him since they started talking. "I'm named after some irish hag but I'd like to think I'm named after a song named after an Irish hag." Her father was from Ireland and her mother was a stupid crack whore, so she was lucky her name wasn't Used Needle.

There was a particular snap that really seemed to fluster Fred. Either that, or it was the loud students behind them. The bird left its branch and fluttered upwards, landing in safer territory. Maud put a hand in her rose-colored hair, grasping the locks that fell in semi-circles around her ears and neck.

"Fred, you dick." she called, a little too loudly. For the first time she gave full eye-contact to the boy-- and kicked herself that she hadn't done it sooner. He was gorgeous. She bit her lip.

"You think you can help me get my bird?" she asked. Her tone had flattened like a mound of clay left out too long in the sun, softened around the edges.
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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:31 pm

"Maud." He turned the name over in his mouth, the corners of his lips perking up without permission. "That's unique. You'd have to show me the song." Always tell a girl she had a pretty name. That was the rule, there wasn't any other answer. But it was an Irish hag name. Maud. It sounded like the name of a troll. But now he could say he knew a girl named Maud, with a bright yellow canary and rose-gold hair. "I'm Evander. My dad hated me too."

The beating of wings, the off-key snap, the crack in her cool facade, the sudden shift carried his eyes upward, gaze trailing up, up into the upper branches. He met her eyes, green eyes, blinked, then turned back to the tree, where Fred was roosted, just a squeaky yellow ball with no shape from down here. He could feel his stomach lurching just being that high. Winged life wasn't for him, and he came from a bloodline of wolves, not squirrels. Evander looked back into her eyes. "Well, any way I can." There wasn't any other answer to a girl asking for help. The response was automatic, with a confidence he wished he actually had stored inside him. How, though? She didn't have a special whistle, or something?


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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:56 pm

"Great!" Whatever soultry undertones existed in her persuasion left after he agreed to help. She grabbed his hand and led him to the tree. Maybe she'd be lucky and find out he was a squirrel boy or something. "Stay here, keep the tree steady and look pretty." She had already backed up, swinging her arms and cracking her neck. She was looking prepared to jump 20 feet into the air to get the bird.

Fred, meanwhile, looked down on his subjects with the contempt that only a king could. An ancestry left to die in the coal mines, and he looked free and in power as ever. Of course, Maud wasn't having that.

She inhaled, which cut into the wind before snuffing out altogether, and she was gone.
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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:36 pm

He kept a loose grip on her hand, numbly following her lead, head craning back to the tips of the trees. Standing at the base, steadying his hands on the trunk, his first fear was that she was going to have him crawl up it like a spider-monkey. His second fear, as she wound her arms like a clockwork toy ready to spring, was that she was about to vault into the branches, or turn into a canary or eagle or squirrel herself.

Evander blinked, and she'd dissipated into air, and he was alone, mouth hanging open and hugging a tree. Fred, man, what the fuck.


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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:22 pm

It took a few trials before she got it right. Back when she used to steal, it didn't matter where she ended up. All she needed to do was get away, and if she blinked into a crowd of people most of them thought they just went crazy.

Appearing where you wanted, however, was a pain in the ass.

Maud blinked and she was in the forest somewhere, the school's buildings silhouetted by the rest of the city behind it. She sighed and vanished again.

She found herself in a host of different places over the next thirty seconds or so. In parking lots, in the dining rooms of peoples houses. Each time she tried to focus seemed to put her further away, and at one point she just considered walking home and finding a new bird. Leaving Squirrel Boy to hug the tree for the rest of the night. She gave it one Maudian try (an old friend would use her name to describe positive things when he got high), however, and found herself falling onto the wobbly branches of a particular oak.

The tree swayed as she caught herself. Below her, the bird wobbled and fluffed up.

Maud held on for dear life, squeezing her eyes shut, and thankfully, the branches held. It was amazing, actually. She was sure she'd put on a few pounds...

"Did I frighten you, monseiur?" She called down to Evander, unable to hide the trembling in her voice at such a loud volume. She noticed eyes from around the courtyard surveying her, bodies turning to look, but she didn't care. She was looking for an audience to begin with, after all.

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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:36 pm

Did he just get ghosted? For half a minute his head was just swiveling around here and there, like a dog sniffing for its master, searching high and low for any trace of her. But she was gone. Poof. Plain disappeared. "Uh, Fred..." But just when he was slowly letting his hands fall to his sides, off the wood, the branches rustled overhead, kicking down leaves and twigs, and her small voice from up in the heights.

"Not for a second," he shouted back up. Lie. "Just warn me next time!"


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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:20 pm

Maud didn't answer. She heard snapping here and there as she shifted her weight. Her tongue hung from her mouth as she climbed down, down, patting each branch for splinters as she scaled the tree. Fred stood bundled just under her. She cooed at him, in the type of voice she thought birds would like, as she placed her foot on the branch.

And the branch snapped.

Maud gripped the branch above as Fred began to tumble toward Evander, flapping his tiny wings with little luck. Her feet kicked as she tried hauling herself up, fingers digging into the dark. Around her, students gasped, some drawing closer as the scene unfolded.
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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:35 pm

Shit. He clung to the tree as best he could as she crept her way toward the renegade puff of cottony candy, showering him with browning leaves and sweet scented needles and cones and lord knew what else. She was gonna fall. Or fall, disappear, and leave him to get crushed by the broken limb. Did she have to do this every time her bird flew away? Evander was going to ask when he heard the creak, then the crack of splitting wood, and all the worst case scenarios jumped to the forefront of his mind.

His head snapped upward, looking for Maud's plummeting silhouette. Fred flipped toward him, wings beating against the air but providing no cushion of air between him and the ground. Evander slipped his arms from around the tree, cupped them out, and lunged out, pulling the tiny bird to his chest like a touchdown pass. Evander held him out with a sharp breath, Fred looking at him with beady eyes brimming with gratitude as his beak latched around the lower joint of his exposed thumb. "Arghh!"


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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:24 pm

Meanwhile, Maud still clutched the branch above her. She'd seen big football boys be able to lift their bodies up to bars they set up above doorways, but she wasn't one of those guys, and even they couldn't bring themselves over the bar. She tried to focus her mind on teleporting, on blipping from one place to another, but it was hazed in panic. Every time she tried to lift herself, her arms hurt more.

Suddenly, the branch she clung to began to buckle as well.

Lightning bolt fractures cracked like thunder across the wood, and all at once Maud felt herself and the branch drop.

She plummeted further and further. She twisted her body towards the ground. It was only an instant, no more than a second of drop time, but everything slowed as she prepared herself. She inhaled, made eye contact with Evander, and then was gone. She seemed to disappear an inch from the ground.

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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:51 am

Evander's head snapped up from the bird to the crisscrossed branches above, and Maud's hanging form. From where he stood, she didn't have shape, just resembling clothes strung up to dry in the most inconvenient of places. Chewing on his lip, he sidled left, then right, chewing back groans of pain from where the beak pinched down on his skin, drawing the fresh scent of blood to his nose. Yellow eyes hollowed as the branch craned beneath her weight, bowing, then breaking. Fred slipped from his hands as he reached out for her, face freezing in terror, but the moment he expected a dull smack against the rough earth, she was gone again in the fraction of a missed instant. His fingers clawed through thin air. Knees hit the damp grass, Fred wheeling low in the air above Evander's head.

"I said warn me."


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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:34 pm

Maud found herself in a bundle somewhere where the wind was loud. It was chilly, in a way that when she stirred she expected herself to be on the nose of a plane, some terrified pilots watching her freeze to death 30,000 feet up. She felt beneath her, however, and her palms met cool concrete.

She was on the roof. She realized that when she rose, when she heard the students in the same way she did in the courtyard. Maud peered down to see them crowding around a fallen body... Evander. Few actually came to his aid, forming a perfect circle that surrounded him like a forcefield. Perhaps that was his power... Maud pushed her bangs out of her face as she rose, a little wobbly, and cupped her hands around her mouth.

"Did you get my bird!?" She screamed it louder than she had every right to, louder than she expected herself to have the energy for. Three dozen eyes turned to her, Harry Houdini post-escape. She expected some people would want to put her in the straightjacket soon after, however.

She was smiling, though. She didn't know why, perhaps it was the cold air that refreshed her lungs or the sweet relief that settled like pudgy taffy in the recesses of her abdomen. Perhaps it was that she'd gotten a cute boy's attention with a few death-defying tricks.

She opted to take the stairs and spent the time whistling and trying to remember his name, thinking of what kind of music he would like and what he did in his free time and how big his dick was. Not quite in that order.
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PostSubject: Re: Teaching an old bird some new tricks [open]   Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:16 pm

Fred was trying his best to roost in his hair, little raptor claws digging into the nape of his neck. He let out a long, low, sharp breath as her voice carried out from the sky. Maybe she was dead after all. Still trying to speak to him. He didn't look up right away, in case she was back in the tree. Thankfully, she'd lost herself somewhere a little more manageable. Evander pulled up clumps of grass in his hands, falling back on his shins. "Safe with me," he called out, not so loudly, with a tinge of hoarseness in his voice he couldn't disguise, if she could even hear him from up there. A wince crept up his face as he reached back over his shoulder, stroking at the damnable canary.

The lengths you went to for a phone number.


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