Isabelle B.L. | Birds of a Feather

Isabelle B.L. | Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Bianca aligned crooked picture frames, placed doilies beneath crystal vases, and scrubbed away encrusted soap from the bathroom. Her mother would arrive at 10.00 a.m. The guests at 11.00.

Two men wheeled the coffin into the lounge room. Bianca walked past her mother nestled cosily in beige velour. Bianca studied the carpet fibers, at the specks of dust freckling the TV screen but settled her gaze upon the withered leaves lining the sill. Symmetry, spick-and-span, and sweeping dead matter replaced rule-book manifestations of grief.

At 11.00, ravens hopped into the dead woman’s bedroom. Laying their black claw-knitted shawls and 1960 clutch bags—hanging from their beaks like storks delivering 101 ways to perform sorrow and instructions on how to fly forward, backward, up and down—upon the heavily embroidered bedcover. Ravens transformed into harmless hummingbirds, hovering over the mahogany Bordeaux coffin.

The priest’s entry failed to break the bird scene.

Bianca’s eyelids moved rapidly. She rubbed her eyes, smudging mascara on her hands.

Black plumage returned. Signs of the cross followed a chorus of feigned cries. The performance ended, and the winged artists launched into the kitchen, ravenous. The guests pecked at the sandwiches but shook their heads in sheer horror.

Darn it, I forgot to take out the butter.” Bianca made a beeline for the bathroom, muffling her fits of laughter.

Isabelle B.L is a writer and teacher based in France. Her work can be found in the Best Microfiction 2022 anthology, Alternate Route, Typo, Visual Verse, Cult Magazine, Inksac and elsewhere. 

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