The Birdcage
rating: +18+x

Letting Arcadia use your daughter to save the world is as good as murdering her yourself.

"Dad, I guess you know best."

It's killing me, the remembering. When the dog's barking at the front door all I can see is the image of them snuggling by the fire. Can't tell where her hair ends and the dog begins. Laughing together because her new hairdo's barking at me. Losing Dana hits me every waking moment in my life.

Almost saving Lorraine is the closest to feeling whole again I'm ever getting. Sitting for six months at the vanity waiting for the sound of Dana coming home again. It's all my fault, my knowing, Nolan flattering me and snatching her away, I'll be blaming myself long after Wolfe Funeral Home's crematorium starts burning me.

Crafting her Bird gives me a hint of invention, that inspiring feeling. Something inside again, just a stirring by watching the videotape. Getting the voice just right. Walking up the stairs to Lorraine's room. Looking her in the eye is hard enough. Sleeping together wasn't happening for us again.

As soon as I start taking the sheet off the cage, she's shaking her head. "No, no, no pets, the dog is enough. Let me alone, I'm fine." Protesting, I open the door. The Bird flying, perching on Lorraine's shoulder. Nuzzling her with mechanical cheeks, speaking from an electronic beak.

"Mom, you're looking radiant today."

Remembering how feeling feels is a wonderful thing. Like numbing wearing off on the drive home from a dentist appointment. Lorraine walking around the house, smiling when she thinks I'm not looking.

Wearing off. Nolan learning we're coming together. Not caring about harming her again, his thinking evolving past desiring what he's getting in the now is an impossibility. Inviting himself over for dinner.

Riding on her shoulder, the second thing Nolan's gazing eyes see is Lorraine's bird. Joking about it, laughing at her. "If that thing comes near me, so help me God, I'll be like this!"

Pale, skinny hand moving slowly in the air with open palm, grasping at nothing. Dabney and Gordon chuckling behind him. They're slumming to his benefit, going have to start realizing that eventually.

Turkey for dinner. Lorraine allowing the Bird freedom for wandering the table, as befits a family member. Nolan will never stop thinking he's funny. The Bird hopping near him, nibbling at his plate. Swooshing hand a few inches short of hitting her. Just enough for sparking fear.

Wishing I could take comfort in knowing she didn't see it coming. Flying over Lorraine's head and looking back at Nolan means she wasn't seeing the mirror on the wall until the snapping took her.

Having the nerve to finish eating is classic Nolan. Smiling and talking business while Lorraine is cradling cold metal feathers in the next room. Repeating for the first time the only words she can bring herself to say for the rest of her living memory.

"Dana, are you coming home today?"

— Letter written by Albert Alcorn, intended recipient unknown

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