He'd got out, but he was on the ground, and the pain in his side would keep him there.
Quite how he'd managed it this far he did not know, but it was clear that he would make it no further.
Dried grass and rubble all around him, only interrupted by telegraph poles and pieces of abandoned farming equipment, but that did not matter. His bleeding was slowing down.
All of the superhuman strength and wits that had got him away had become a debt that had to be settled. He was shivering with cold and a grid march was replacing the world around him intermittently.
This was shock, shock was bad, the body shutting down.
Trying to summon strength, he slowly edged towards the wall and away from the doorway, leaving a bloody trail in front of him as he went. The wall was warm, In the mind, a comfort, somehow maybe it would protect, save.
Sometimes talking could be heard from within the building, and from the calmer tones in their voices he could assume his attackers were either no longer interested or so assured of his doom, as to have dropped the chase.
He lay and tried to watch the world, focus, keep reality as long as he could.
It was becoming impossible to keep his head up, so He focussed in on a stone about two meters away.
It was a rough uneven shape, and his body had disturbed the soil around it into an ugly chaos, spattered here and there with blobs or broken trails of blood. Nothing around him offered any clues of comfort or promise. This stretch of land, and this lonely building was his cage and master. It would be his destroyer.
A huge claw appeared on the ground before him, and then another. Close up as it was it looked like the talon of a red dragon, but it was obviously of some sort of large bird. With all his might he pushed his head up to meet whatever it was.
Chicken? Vulture? No, it was a turkey.
Respite, distraction, what was it doing here? Why was it looking at him?
He wasn't sure he was ready for interaction with farm animals, but hadn't the strength even to drive it away, and dare not make a noise. He just returned his head to the dry dust, and tried to move his mind to better places. Tried to think something happy.
Home? That didn't make him happy, the people in his life that weren't gone entirely were not here with him, and would soon be forgetting him if they had any sense. Getting over him.
The bird interrupted his thoughts with a loud gobbling noise, as turkeys do. Finding himself unable to lift his head he tried to raise his eyes to meet it.
He could only see the underside, but it was cautiously approaching, probably to peck his eyes out. A last stab at his dignity now that hope was gone.
He tried a whispered curse, and pathetically flapped his arm against the ground but after a quick back-step it edged closer again. It stopped again, and made another gobbling noise. Maybe it was not going to peck his eyes out.
Then it edged right up so it's feet and underbelly became like a huge doorway before his eyes. He scrunched his eyes up in preparation, and what was left of him flinched as it felt the first touch.
It was the full weight of the large bird on his face, not the beak. It had sat down, and then a funny sensation, as it appeared to gently prod at his scalp, and pull gently at his hair.
His first thoughts were on the line of bloody stupid bird doesn't even know how to scavenge a corpse, but only seconds went past when the truth dawned on him.
Oh my god, it's trying to be friendly!
Does it understand, or maybe it thinks I'll feed it?
A strange friend to have out here at the end, but right then, maybe friend enough, he needed a friend.
With great effort he lifted his hand to touch it.
This evidently startled it, but it stayed fast, and then he undertook the strange task of trying to gently stroke it with an arm that screamed with pain when he moved a finger.
Why was it friendly? Was this just for him? It almost made him smile to imagine those bastards in there lavishing a turkey with affection. No, those apes weren't capable of that. He could remember that they only “nailed” or “banged” the women in their lives, no “love making”.
It felt softer than velvet, and warmer than how he remembered people.
After less than a minute he let his arm rest on the bird, expecting it to pull away and leave him to his lonely end, but it stayed put, and when it realised that he had stopped moving resumed it's original prodding and fussing about him.
Turkeys died. They knew about death, that's what they did. They died for Christmas, they died for Thanksgiving, they died and we all gobbled them up. Maybe this turkey knew where he was, and where he was going.
It felt soft and warm, like love in bed, like the comfort of his parents. He thought about past girlfriends and wished that one of them was there. One girl in particular came to mind. She would have helped him no matter what.
Thinking this he somehow managed to unconsciously snuggle himself up against the bird, and in defiance to the laws of nature it tolerated this. It's warmth spread through him, and even the pain seemed to ebb, although the weakness only grew.
A warm tingling sensation grew up from his toes and his fingers, his eyesight faded and in his poor lost mind the bird transformed into an angel. She had the face of the lover that he'd wished there. A dress of soft feathers and instead of arms she had huge wings that stretched round him.
The bird got up, puffed it's feathers up and walked away.
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