Microfiction – 35/365

What is this about?

The Dust Bunnies

Jessica’s parakeet vanished a week after the vacuum cleaner broke, but her parents just could not see the connection. Mom and dad, sure that Sunny had either escaped out of her bedroom window (the one Jess was always being warned to keep closed), or had been killed and eaten by Snowshoe, the family cat, didn’t bother to conduct much of an investigation. She even gave up protesting after she started to see that look daddy gets in his eye, just like the time Snowshoe broke the cookie jar and no one would believe that it wasn’t her. She could see they were thinking she took the bird out of the cage and it got away from her and flew out the window.

But Jess knew better. She was the only one to hear the fight Sunny was putting up that night, the fearful screeching and the frantic beating of its wings against the cage. She was the first one to see the cage, like the swinging thing in the grandfather clock by the front door, rocking back and forth on the creaking metal chain that hung from a hook in the roofbeam. Birdseed had been spilled everywhere on the hardwood floor, and water, and nothing more. There was no trace of Sunny, not a feather, not a sound.
And the cage door was latched. Tight.

Reaching out with both hands, Jess grabbed the cage to steady it, and looking down into the bottom of the cage, she saw the shredded newspaper. Newspaper she had folded flat and smooth into the cage that morning. Looking closer to the torn newsprint, the edges of the jagged strips look like… bite marks? Reaching up, she opened the cage door and tried to reach in to grab a piece. It was then she jerked around as she heard her mom heading up the stairs.

“Jessica? Are you okay?”

She let go of the cage quickly and it started swinging again in a slow arc. But just as she let go, something glinted in the torn paper at the bottom of the cage, something small and shiny, like a tiny marble.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."