Karl Heinz Martin - From Morning to Midnight
Karl Heinz Martin - From Morning to Midnight


Beatrix Kondo had a working theory.


But then she was exposed to a better theory.


And whoops-a-daisies, she switched to the new theory.


Everybody was shocked.


"How inhuman!"


But never mind that.


A great malevolent thing like a bird hovers over Beatrix. No one can see it, but it's always just over her shoulder, glaring down. It has a long curved beak like a scimitar and a heavy pear-shaped body on knobby legs. It wants to drive its beak straight through her and kill her.


As in a nightmare, Beatrix knows it's there but, in terror, tries to ignore it. Still, the terror grows and grows, till she's fevered with it. When the bird bends glowering over her, something like saliva drips from its beak onto her head and arms. She feels it drop onto her and shudders, but still desperately ignores it.


Forty years pass in this way.


One never grows accustomed to such terror, but one does eventually tire. That is what Beatrix did: she tired. It was on the subway home at night, hunched on the seat, when the stuff like saliva began to drip onto her and she felt the bird's hot breath on her ears, that she tired all the way out.


She finally thought, "I just don't care if it kills me."


"It's coming anyway. I can't stop it. I don't know why it wants to kill me, but I'll never know anyway. I just have to be ready. You're never ready ready, but I just—can't stop it."


The long swordlike beak flashes down and gores her. The other people on the subway can't see this, of course; but they do hear the middle-aged woman cry out and the fount of blood pour from her. People scramble away unthinkingly. Somebody says, "She got shot!" Somebody panics. Somebody scans outside the windows. Somebody prays to God. Somebody thinks in dreadful anticipation, "Is this it?"


But where is the bird? It's gone.