Drunk/Death - E. D. James

It startled her, the bird, when it fell at her feet. She was standing at the streetcar stop. The sky was reddening in the east, a few dark clouds silhouetted at the horizon. She felt the air move in front her and then the bird appeared on the ground. A soft thump accompanied its arrival, a sound she could barely hear over the noise of the traffic around her. She stared at the little body at her feet and then up at the brightening sky. She couldn’t see any other birds above her. The white-breasted body fairly glowed on the dark pavement and Sai guessed that it was a Nuthatch. The species was one of the few that made Toronto their home year round. Her father had favored the noisy little creatures and always delighted in finding places where they had stuffed the peanuts he left out for them into the bark of the trees in their back yard. She wondered what had driven the bird from the sky. She wondered if it had a family that was even now waiting for its return home. Her streetcar came into view down the track and the ground began the faint shaking that accompanied its passage. The vibrations seemed like the shock of a filibrator on the bird. It flipped off its back, stood on its feet for a second, shook its head, and then launched off into the sky again.

“Will you look at that!” a man standing a few feet further down the platform said, “Must have been drunk on the holly berries.”

Sai turned to examine the faces in the windows with a smile on her face. Perhaps the bird was a sign that tonight her search would be rewarded.