Elena Tănăsoiu

Elena Tănăsoiu

Dodo Death

I've recently joined a creative writing course with the Literary Kitchen. We meet up once a week on Zoom and go through some aspect of story writing. The lessons are progressively advanced, and I really enjoyed how my last story came out so I've decided to publish it.

This was written in 20 mins, so please bear that in mind. I've not done any polishing or editing.

NB: The real miracle is that after 3 years, my static Next.js site still builds.

The story

Giles is trying to rise through the ranks of barber-surgeons in late 19th century London. He’s looking to publish a book on anatomy that will blow everyone’s minds. The book would contain more detailed illustrations of the human body and would be considered a step forward. But to do this, he needs a large amount of bodies to study so he can understand the differences and commonalities between them.

Geraldine wants to be a certified pilot. She’s been taking flying lessons and is finally out on her own, practicing some of what she’s learned. She had seen a beautiful forest near her practice field. She thinks she saw a hidden lake in the middle so she decides to deviate her path while flying and see what the forest looks like from above. Except a canada goose flies from the lake and straight into her propellers. Her plan crashes and she ends up in Giles’ office.

Giles is delighted to see Geraldine arrive to his office with a broken arm. He’s been working on a drawing of the human arm but he’s mostly had male … erm … models for it. One had waltzed into his office for a shave but got more than he bargained for. How interesting it would be to study a female arm up close.

Geraldine is conscious but in a lot of pain. Giles has a disturbing glint in his eye, like he’s found a treasure. Is this man going to flirt with her? In this state? She decides to speak:

"Where am I?" she asks.

"You’re in my office. My name is Giles, I’m going to have a look at your arm"

"Oh I see. Why am I covered in feathers?" she asks.

"I was hoping you could tell me that", he answered.

"This is not my blood"

"Let’s take a closer look", he gleefully whispered next to her ear.

Geraldine feels slightly dizzy as she moves onto a bed. She can hear Giles move around in the background, moving a lot of trays with metal tools in them. She’s wondering why he’s looking for tools instead of trying to put her arm back in place.

"Right, I’ve found my stethoscope and scalpel. Shall I have a look?", Giles asked.

"Why do you need the scalpel? I told you this isn’t my blood."

"Well I won’t be able to confirm that until I’ve cut through your sleeve"

"But the arm isn’t broken near my sleeve, it seems to be broken at the elbow. What exactly do you want to find out?"

"I think you might be feeling a bit hysterical. I’m going to give you some smelling salts to calm your nerves. Here, hold this to your face."

"I’m not sure I understand why you need to do this."

She’s stalling for time now. Something doesn’t feel right about this man. She tells him she’s allergic to smelling salts and requests a different way to be numbed.

While he skulks away, she follows him with his gaze. He opens the door to another room. In her state, she can see a painting of Giles with what looks like a deceased patient. He’s sitting over the patient, smiling and studying him up close. This was disturbingly like his posture when he reached down to whisper in her ear.

She panics and desperately looks around for a way to escape. She sees a small kitchen at the end of the room with a large stuffed dodo bird. This man has excentric tastes. The large fat bird is next to a window. She could make a run for it and climb the bird to get to the window. In one big jump, she could be out.

She makes a go for it. Her heart is pounding, the goose blood makes her hands feel sticky and feathers start flying off of her as she goes across the room.

Giles is alerted and sees her heading towards the dodo. He starts screaming at her to stay away from his dodo: That was an expensive gift! How dare you!

One, two, three steps and she’s on the ledge. Yes! Freedom! All she has to do is jump down from the second floor, she can clear it.

The dodo’s head snapped off while she was stepping on him and is hooked on her coat. It’s pinned her to the window. She makes a jump for it, but falls back on the office.

A scream can be heard from the street: “Goddamn birds!”