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Snowrunner, Fly

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I feel like a poorly maintained Lada. My brain is gummed with cracker crumbs and my mouth is full of road salt. On to yesterday night.

I saw the Snowrunner as I was heading down to the cafĂ©. A local artist decided to open a show there, and I was in the mood for hors d’oeuvres.

It snowed softly and heavily, straight down. The streetlamps buzzed and I kept my eyes on my feet as I picked my way down our front porch stairs. Across our street, two kids from the youth shelter, a boy and a girl, were– I guess you could call it gamboling. They screamed playful obscenities through the snow and ran after each other, their jackets open.

I looked up from my boots and the Snowrunner was passing by, gliding over the road, moving fast.

This one was around twelve feet tall, I’d guess. I could be wrong, it was hunched over. It looked pretty thin; about the width of my wrist. It’s tough to judge size when they’re passing, and they don’t reflect much light.

The boy and the girl were laughing at something in the snow. They didn’t look up.

Usually I don’t acknowledge runners; I pretend that I haven’t seen them. This time, I decided, for whatever reason, to wave. I don’t know why. I was feeling a bit blue, a bit bored.

The Snowrunner stopped in mid-stride, just above the asphalt. They don’t leave any tracks; I’m not sure how. I don’t even know why they’re called “Snowrunners.” They can move just as well over pretty much any flat ground.

It looked at me, its long head moving smoothly, as if on ball bearings. It had eyes; tiny points of light no bigger than pinpricks, widely spaced over the beak, facing forward.

It hadn’t occurred to me previously that human beings were predators, but it’s true. Somehow, “hunt” isn’t connected to ideas of predation in my mind. When you look at a prey animal, like my old pet rabbit, its eyes are on either side of its head, to better see predators. The eyes of predators face forward to focus on prey. Neat.

My breath came out in clouds and the chill began to eat away at the residual warmth on my skin. The Snowrunner cocked its head slightly and opened its beak. The beak itself was a different shape than usual: long and curved, like an ibis. It made no sound. The kids turned for the door of the Shelter. I slid my headphones off my ears and around my neck.

“Hi,” I said quietly. No reaction. The runner was in constant, barely perceivable motion. Not really breathing; more like flickering, like a TV with less-than-perfect signal.

“I don’t want to, er, be a bother,” I said. No reaction.

I’ve been told that I have low self-esteem; I can’t deny that. Lately I’ve been trying to speak and act with more confidence. This will apparently lead to girls liking me for who I am. Yeah, I don’t really get it, either. I decided to keep talking, whether the Snowrunner found me to be a bother or not. I walked to the edge of the road, climbed up on the ridge of ice and sand left behind by the snowplows.

“Fine. I have a question for you. You have something to do with Dreamtime, don’t you? Do you know anything about it? When’s it going to happen?”

The runner reached out its arm and showed me its watch, which was silver and looked expensive. It wore the watch backwards, the body on the inside of its wrist. Its fingers were bladelike, long as my shin. It had two thumbs, one on each side of the palm; I hadn’t noticed that before.

I tried to look at the face of the watch, but my eyes wouldn’t focus and started to water. When I looked away, there was a bright spot in the centre of my vision where the watch had been, as if I had stared into a lightbulb.

“I– I can’t see the hands,” I said. The Snowrunner withdrew its arm. Then it turned away and started moving again. It was faster than a car, but its limbs moved slowly, like a water slider.

It reached the bottom of the hill. It made a left on Ross and slid around an old Taurus. Then it was gone.

The hors d’oeuvres were excellent.

———-

Joseph Yachimec – The Day I Learned To Fly

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Written by wholewheatwords

January 28, 2007 at 11:13 pm

Posted in magic reality, music