“Mighty Girl! Mighty Girl! Mighty Girl!” screeched the bird.
From the pit of my throat I felt an awful presence rising. I rolled over just in time to vomit the piece of birthday cake Millie had been careful to hide away from me until just the right moment. I wretched again. The sound of a man dying drew more birds to the scene. Soon I was surrounded by a flock of Grey Parrots, owls and crows.
“You have to go back to the start now, Mr. Crawley,” said the voice.
“My name is Becker Freeman,” I said wiping the spew from my lip with a leaf. “Crawley is the last name of my ex-girlfriend from ten years ago. Why do you keep calling me that? How do you know anything about me?”
The voice wasn’t interested in my education – only instruction and destructive criticism. “Go back to the start,” she said calmly. It occurred to me that I had heard those words before. The voice belonged to a relationship counselor I had seen with Millie. After our sessions were over I had seen her a few times on my own in an attempt to figured out Millie’s ups and downs. Her name was Sabina Smithers. A beautiful, sophisticated Irishoman with golden hair, sparkling eyes and porcelain skin. Why was she here?
After walking back down the steps into the bunker I made my way to the sink. With my head under the faucet my fingers searched for the handles. I twisted both open. The water was ice cold. The shock of low temperature reminded me of the falls, but inspired less fear this time. Once the grit was off my face I backed up into the closet for a towel to dry off.
As I lowered the cloth from my eyes I heard Millie crying. “Becker, where are you?” she moaned. Then I heard a whistle. Three long, shrill tweets followed by silence. Then they repeated.
“I love you, Millie,” I thought to myself.
The whistling paused. “Becker? Is that you? Where are you? Are you alive? What’s going on?” she frantically quizzed.
I followed the sound back toward the sink. I peered down into the basin and then noticed movement from the corner of my eye. It was the water glass. In the half-empty glass I could see Millie looking around for me. “I’m somewhere… else,” I yelled at the glass. “I heard you before and thought you were here with me. Are you still in the forest?”
“I’m here with Khristophe now. He told me that he was really you in a new body. I prefer your mind and love in his body so after careful consideration we have decided to get married,” she said robotically.
“Married!” I screamed aloud. “Are you insane?” Khristophe put his arm around Millie and then gave her a kiss as the vision of them both faded from the glass. “Millie! No!” I screamed.