Short Fictions from Web Del Sol


Bradford Morrow

The bat had pursued a disturbance, a radar trace, an insect wave, and as he did, the echo patterns turned on him from tapestry of leaf and land to angle, wall and floor-the floor on which he fell, a drab brown wing blur. He did not want to be found hiding under your bed, but made it there on achy finger-bones, his coffee-drop eyes blinded by the light of your lamp, the very light his prey had found attractive. I am your father, and know how right it may be for you not to heed sometimes my words. Listen to me now. We have earned this moment together. Switch off the lamp. Forget the broomstick your crueler human heart would lead you to get from the pantry. You don't want to obliterate his misery, but end it. Forget also the macabre and hateful wives' tales about him. The pipistrel does not want to be tangled in your hair. He does not want to drink your blood. He wants to continue on his way, cutting dazzling eights through air and etching arabesques. He wants to pick mosquitoes out of the thrumming darkness, mosquitoes who do want your blood. Go to the blanket chest and get out the Hudson Bay, our family's oldest. Gather him up in that blanket, so he lies in a double darkness, warm and safe. Hold him, and know he is a living being, precise as a scientist, shy as a hermit. Take him out to the second-story porch. Set him down. Calmly open the folds of the blanket and if you are still afraid, so be it, and into the house you may run. If not, though, lie down in the warm night and wait and watch him recover his sense of place, his animal dignity. Show patience, there is a reward. He is in no hurry, knowing you do not intend to destroy him. Soon he'll stir, bringing curious life to the blanket. Then he will fly, his warm mammal blood and mammal fingers rising with him. Your mammal character may fly up, too-high, erratic, sonic, loose--and when it returns toyour there on the porch, you can weave it, with the merest touch in the act of folding, into the blanket. Anyone who sleeps under the blanket thereafter will have bat-blessed dreams of the sweetest kind, dreams from which they will always awaken refreshed.

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