Monday, March 8, 2010

A bedtime story! (part IV of probably IV)

I really had no idea what I was going to do with this. I decided to steal an idea from my deathfest character and have a sentient bunsen burner who fails the SATs, but decided to go with something else, still following the spontaneous sentience idea.


Richie Hirundo Rustica was an average unladen European swallow, flying over the country side at his average airspeed velocity of approximately twenty-four miles per hour. Now, it is important to note that Richie, was in fact not in Europe, but rather on vacation in northern New York state. Strangely enough, when he was turning towards the city to catch a boat back, he was hit by a coconut on the head. The collision of the coconut and Richie's cranium was enough to bring him to the realm considered by humans as 'unconsciousness'. As an average swallow, Richie had yet to achieve an awareness of awareness, also known as consciousness.

During his brief stint of unconsciousness, two things happened. The first was that he stopped flapping his wings and consequently plummeted. The second was that he had achieved true sentience as well as all the knowledge of an thirty-three year old white American male of a upper-middle class background and a job as a technical service provider. Steven Baker, a man matching that description was in a car accident a few hundred feet below where Richie was flying and appeared to lose his memory as well as his mind. What really happened was that he had gained the knowledge of Richie Hirundo Rustica and could only speak Aeran, language of the skies. However, the effects of this coconut crash on Steven Baker were of no consequence to Richie who, by this point, had realized that the ground wanted to be his friend.

While no physicist, Steven had known a lot about gravity and kinetic impacts. Richie, therefore, also knew about this. Richie did some quick math in his now extremely overworked swallow mind and determined that he had a few seconds to live unless he somehow grew larger wings.

He concentrated on extending what little wingspan he had a praying to whatever gods Steven had known about.

“Oh my dear God, Jesus my savior I need wings. Wings like a falcon or an eagle. Thor and Zeus! You guys might be able to help me- wings! Oh, what was the name of the Greek god Odysseus pissed off... I know this... Aeolus, God of the Wind grant me flight!”

Abruptly Richie's decent stopped. However, he had not impacted the ground. That was still below him, he craned his short neck and looked to either side and saw that his wings had grown to a six foot wingspan.

After a few beats of his mighty wings he grew tired. The small frame of the average European swallow was not designed with an eagle's wings in mind and the musculature was not able to support them. Rather than wishing that his wings returned to their normal, standard size, he prayed to Aeolus that his frame grow in proportion to his wings. His prayer was almost immediately answered by the sound of popping joints.

Pushing the air below him out of the way he shot up into the sky.

“Hell yeah, Mr. Barneby's cat won't bother me anymore,” he thought, “Perhaps I should get a job. But I would need arms- and I should look more intimidating. No one will hire a swallow. But maybe if I was covered in scales and spikes people would listen to me.”

Nearly a mile below, Darren Sternburry, an amateur Ornithologist had been tracking the patterns of a barn swallow crossing his neighbor's farm. It had just been hit on the head with what looked like a coconut and then plummeted to the ground. He felt sorry for the poor thing- coconuts were usually polite enough to wait until there was nothing in the area to appear. This one had been rather vicious in its teleporting. Rather unexpectedly, a bird soon rose from behind the trees where the swallow had fallen. It had the swallows body and head, but its wing span had grown from under a foot to several feet. Darren turned on the digital video camera and tracked the flight of this strange creature.

Just after cresting the tree line, it's body had shifted and grown to scale. Over the next two or three minutes the brown and white feathers were replaced with dark red scales and spines running down its back. The tail feathers extended and became a wiry spiked tail. The head flattened and narrowed, looking more like a bird of prey, and then very similar to a crocodile's head. As Darren watched- what had been a swallow practice a few swoops, dives and rolls. Suddenly, the creature doubled in size, then tripled. More spikes and a pair of vestigial arms grew. If Darren had ever played Dungeons and Dragons he would have classified it immediately as a Juvenile Red Dragon (based on size and apparent flight speed- not age).

High in the clouds Richie felt better about his life. He may have just eaten a whole flock of distant relatives, but they weren't close and they were relatives. Besides that, he was a a dragon, he had to eat a lot to remain in the air. Richie, remembering why he had changed glided down towards the ground in search of a phone. He landed not to far from the Sternburry farm and casually sauntered over. In the backyard he met Darren and stuck out one of his hands.

“Hello, I'm Richie Hirundo Rustica. I've got the mind of Steven Baker, the skills of a professional technical service provider and the power of the god Aeolus. I need to borrow your phone. I'm looking for a job,” he said with what he thought was a charming smile.

Darren looked didn't hear what had been said. This, he was sure, was a bad thing. Darren turned around and raced inside.

Richie shrugged, extended an arm a ripped out the back wall of the house. Still not used to his bulk, he destroyed most of the building, including the phone and its connections. Darren, meanwhile had grabbed his car and drove off as quickly as his grandfather's used pick-up could go.

Sighing in despair, Richie threw himself off the ground and into the air. Richie, however, forgot about the local Air Force base. He felt a sharp buzzing in his head, as though someone was trying to communicate with him. A few minutes later he looked behind him and saw a pair of fighters. Recognizing them, he dove instantly, but the missiles that were launched tracked him as he fell. He resorted to prayer again, but Aeolus gave him nothing. Seconds later he felt a sharp pain in his stomach and then he was enveloped in an expanding ball of gas and fire.

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