Monday, March 20, 2006

The Clack-Clack Bird

The Clack-Clack Bird
Several years ago I had this nightmare, and it was one of the most terrifying dreams I've ever had. It was the nightmare about... the Clack-Clack Bird.

I was sitting in this room with a bunch of people, on a Thursday afternoon. It seemed like a classroom of some sort. And we were going to watch a movie. The film projector had been set up behind us, and in front of us, up on a stage, was the movie screen.

And then the projector started up. And there was some problem adjusting it, and there was harsh buzz of static over the sound system, and random flitting shapes and snow (like a dead TV channel) being projected up onto the screen.

And that was when it happened.

Because suddenly, up there on the movie screen, we could see this image of a horrible angry cartoon bird pacing back and forth. A surreal, patchwork cartoon bird, impatiently walking back and forth on the screen, in front of the flickering, shifting shadow-shapes and the random TV snow. The bird was puffing on a cigar. And it was mad. Mad! And the bird was making angry clicking and clacking noises, like wooden blocks being struck together; and the bird was making angry electric static buzzing noises, amidst the clicks and clacks.

And the room was filled with fear. We were all struck with horror, at this angry cartoon bird which had suddenly appeared up there on the movie screen.

The Clack-Clack Bird was pacing back and forth, jerky and quick, up on the screen, bzzzzzt, kzz'szzzzz! clack-clack-clack! And then suddenly, with a loud pop, the bird was no longer on the screen. No, now all of a sudden the Clack-Clack Bird was angrily pacing back and forth, back and forth, right there in the room with us, up on the stage. And the zzzzzzz, click-clack was no longer coming from the movie sound system, now the sound was live, right there in the room.

And we were all panicking at this angry cartoon bird which was now right there in the room with us, puffing away, buzzing, clacking, back and forth, jerky, quick, angry, filled with mad random rage. And some people were getting up out of their seats like they were going to flee. Only then the Clack-Clack Bird commanded us, amidst its random electric static buzz and clacking, that no one would leave the room.

And now our horror was redoubled, because we realized that none of us had the power to disobey. If the Clack-Clack Bird commanded us to stay in the room, we would stay in the room, no matter what.

No matter what! Now, pacing back and forth, back and forth, furious, clack, zzzzzzt, clack, the Clack-Clack Bird was telling us in its harsh radio-static voice that it was going to eat one of us. The Clack-Clack Bird was going to select one of us to eat.

And I was filled with fear. Not me! Not me!

And now the Clack-Clack Bird was commanding us, that every Thursday afternoon from now on, all of us would come back to this room. And the Clack-Clack Bird would be there, and each Thursday afternoon, it would select another one of us to devour.

And the horror of it was, I knew, I just knew, that I was going to obey. We were all going to obey. We had to. We had no choice. Each week, we would come back to this room, willy-nilly, in spite of ourselves. Drawn by the irresistible command of this angry pacing cartoon bird. Drawn back to the room, knowing that the Clack-Clack Bird was going to eat one of us. Drawn back, helpless and drenched in fear.

And then it came to me, as if in a word of knowledge, that this horrific bird was more ancient than we could imagine. For it was the Clack-Clack Bird which had wiped out the Swiss Lake Dwellers, many long thousands of years ago in neolithic Europe. The Swiss Lake Dwellers, gathered around the fire at night, had played at casting finger-shadows in the dark. And, forming just the right finger-shadow combinations, they had accidentally unleashed the Clack-Clack Bird, which then devoured the Swiss Lake Dwellers, one by one.

Now, thousands of years later, our movie projector had accidentally projected the correct sequence of flitting images to unleash the Clack-Clack Bird once again. And now we were under its power, and we could not disobey, and this horrible striding cartoon-image bird was going to eat us, one at a time...

(Picture of the Clack-Clack Bird, courtesy of my brother Steven)

1 Comments:

Anonymous Lucy said...

For some reason, I found this profoundly disturbing. Very VERY disturbing. Like Hitchcock.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 8:20:00 AM  

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