This is part of the short story Carry On that is being posted a chapter at a time, Monday October 3rd through Friday October 7th. This is the fourth chapter, titled Thursday.
You can view the previous chapters here (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), or by clicking on the chapter titles in the tool bar to the right.
The first thought he had upon waking was that something was amiss. Everything was just as he left it, but at the same time, nothing looked as it should. Although early morning, the light was all wrong. The sun was too low, too close, too bright. It was as if it sat directly outside his window, shining just for him. It hurt his eyes and beat directly into his head. It acted as a spot light and directed his attention to the worst of the pain. His throat still throbbed dully, but it felt more like a tether that held together the two real pains, his head and stomach.
Click click click.
Pressing the palms of his hands into his eyes, he rolled into a fetal position. This was it, he thought, something was seriously wrong with him. Between throbs of hot pressure Joe wept. He begged and pleaded for death, for the birds to finally take him.
The birds roared from outside his window. Dozens of them flapping their large wings just out of sight, causing the curtains to stir. Causing the air to smell like the rotting flesh that stuck to their talons. He imagined it, bits of scavenged flesh, stuck on their feathers and claws. Rising heat was the only warning Joe had before he leaned over and let bile spew from his mouth. Sweet relief hit him immediately and the burning seemed to recede momentarily to some searing pinpoint within him.
Click click click, came again from outside. Without cleaning up his mess he rolled back to the other side of the bed and pulled the covers up around him. There he remained, unmoving and unseeing, as the day went on.
Time passed by and still he laid in that bed, the covers pulled up to his ears, trying to drown out the birds. The birds that had come for him. The birds that only he could hear.
The end of chapter four.
Click here to read the final chapter, Friday.
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