Once, there was a tiny rivulet of adventure.
It lived between two pages of a dusty travel book, in the wrong section of the bookshop. Not just this. The book stood the other way around, because it was a bit shy.
In spite of its seeming bid to remain a well kept secret, the rivulet secretly dreamed of the rapture of discovery. “I’d like to see their eyes gleam with the reflection of little red autumn leaves drifting on the golden water. A heart beat faster seeing a cooperative of feathers slice the sky.”
“You’d better get out into the world, or you’ll dry up,” warned the dead crow perched on a fake hackberry tree branch.
The long absent book shop owner, who had been away for so long, that nobody could quite remember how they looked had apparently had a fascination with taxidermy – which was not to everyone’s taste. When Bokch, the current sales assistant had first arrived for an interview for work experience, they found the shop door open, nobody around and, tactfully assumed the position of stand-in shop keeper. Bokch thought the dead animals were –
“Totally disgusting. Where’s the dignity in being stuffed and stuck on a fake tree branch?” they hummed, scornfully, while making a cup of tea.
Little did Bokch know that the dead animals held fortnightly meetings to discuss their demise. A choking claw in their coffee, a feather in the artisanal mayonnaise. Soon enough, freedom would be theirs. No one had bothered to question how Bokch’s death would free them and they were bound by a spell to return to a state of transfixation if a human laid eyes on them.
Impatiently, the tiny rivulet tickled its way off the page, the book started chuckling, unable to hold itself together, and out it landed on the shelf with a thunderous splash that surprised everyone.
“Well!” gasped the crow, peering at across at the book from whence the rivulet had exited. “I had no idea you had it in you.”
The rivulet turned around in the room, in a mysterious pattern of lines and coils. It was making a spell to free the dead animals.
“About time too..” grumbled the fake fossils. “It’s only been a few millenia..”
The stuffed creatures felt the poetry of consciousness surge through their veins and long forgotten sensations flickered through their skin. Scales, feathers, fur, were driven with a wild burst to breathe and move.
Bokch was just locking up their bike after trying to get it to remain in an upright position. They were contemplating whether a 50% sale would draw more customers than a 3 for 2 offer, when they turned to see an unprecedented tumult through the window of the bookstore. Maybe a pigeon had got trapped in there and was trying to escape.
Then it all happened so quickly. The glass cracked, and after a moment, large pieces jumped purposefully on to the pavement. A flurry of wings, and a stampede of smaller land creatures, hurtling fake fossils came storming out on a fast stream of magic water, knocking over Bokch and their bike, and a curious squirrel who, attracted by the commotion, had stopped to see what was going on.
“Artisanal mayo! Ha! Ha!” blared the crow zigzaging over Bokch’s head, making a mild breeze, which smelt faintly of sweet berries.
“What’s this about artisanal mayo? I’m dairy-free!”
The bother of dealing with a broken window was a small price to pay for the gladness of knowing that dead animals were freed. They wouldn’t miss the animals, til that moment, they had always behaved perfectly dead, and.. Bokch had always had a strange feeling that they wanted to kill them.
“Just a feeling.”
Crouching on the pavement, Bokch noticed the last sign of escapologist water steaming into the noon air. They removed a dent from their cap, formed by the beak of the exuberant crow, and wondered if there were any teabags left.
“3 for 2 I reckon.. Maybe I’ll be able to get a few plants in there now the animals have left.”