The frail, but hard to kill yellow bird
The fact that it sings makes me angry. How dare it make music. How dare it be happy. I silently curse the miner that was careless enough to let him escape from his cage. The canary sits on a branch outside my bedroom window and continues to sing its heart out. He is covered in coal dust, his beak burrowed into his feathers to clean the soot off him. The brilliant yellow feathers barely conquered by the decrepit earth particles masking them.
I had been lying face down on my bed, my face hidden by my dirty smooth material of my sheets eroding the burnt skin off my flesh. I had been waiting for the bedding to deskin me completely when it had started to chirp outside my room, trying to attract females with his voice.
I had opened my window with a bang and tried to reach him with my fist to squeeze the life out of him. He was too far away though, and had hopped a few inches away from where my fingers spread and strained. Taunting me with his song.
My anger had boiled, and I had begun to scream and throw things until I was exhausted and collapsed onto the floor. But he never stopped.
Morning breaks, and I awaken from my nightmares on the floorboards, my body aching, my eyelids still heavy. Peeta is here with Greasy Sae. This is the third day he has come for breakfast. I don't know why though. I can hear them make polite conversation downstairs as they wait for me to join them. I don't think I will. I might go hunt down that bird and kill it.
Sae calls me from the kitchen when Peeta asks, "Where is Katniss this morning?" She makes me eat the food she puts in front of me. I don't know why she does that either.
Peeta and I sit at the table and wait for Sae to finish feeding us like we did the past two days. I think he's trying to meet my eyes with his. But I refuse him that, and just stare at the table instead. Peeta has brought warm bread again, too. It's good. It has raisins and nuts in it. I wonder if it's the same kind that he gave me when I was eleven. It's not though. Because he doesn't remember that.
Greasy Sae and her granddaughter leave. Peeta sits at the table for a while, and tries to make conversation with me.
But I tell him to leave and go back upstairs to my room.
I look for the yellow bird that's out to get me. But he isn't anywhere on my property. So I put on my fathers hunting jacket and my hunting boots. I grab my bow and arrows and quietly leave. But once I'm outside I realize it's too warm for a jacket. It is now spring time.
I keep the jacket on anyways.
I check all the trees in the Victors Village. Well, every tree but the ones near Peeta's house. No miners canary.
I begin searching in the woods but I'm too tired after an hour.
I end up quitting, its just a stupid bird after all.
I had just felt so much anger at it for singing. Don't ask me why. I just wanted it dead.
A week passes and I go without hearing its singing. I wake, I eat with Sae and Peeta, then I crawl back into bed and stare at the ceiling. I sleep when it turns dark outside. Then the nightmares come. Then a whole new day starts.
One night, it's so warm outside that I open my window and listen to the wind flow through the trees. It's almost peaceful. Of course, the peace is shattered when my nightmares feature mutts, terrifying presidents, and the newly added yellow avions breaking my eardrums with their obnoxious squawks.
When I wake up, sunlight is streaming though my windows and it crashes its rays onto my face. My first thought is relief from my terrible nightmare, the second is how warm the sun feels on my face, and thirdly, annoyance when something small uses its body to shadow the light from my eyes.
I open my eyelids. There, hovering in front of me, it's wings flapping rapidly to stay in one place, is the bird that woke me up that one morning. I lash at it. But it's fast and it dodges my swat.
It stares at me with beady little eyes. I'm up on my feet, running around the room trying to capture it. I run and bump into things. But I don't care. I want it dead.
I can't catch it. And it's too stupid to fly back out the window from where it came.
It sings while it flutters around my room. Buttercup takes notice of the little demon and tries to eat it.
It heads towards my bedroom door and I race after it, my eyes trained on its tail, when I run into something rock solid.
"Ummph." I grunt and someones arms catch me before I fall.
I look up, see Peeta, and then back away, feeling strange.
"Sorry." I say.
"It's okay," he says laughing, but then he turns serious again. "I heard noises, a loud thumping, I came up here to make sure you were okay."
"I'm fine." I say.
"Aren't you coming down for breakfast?"
"Doing what?" He asks curiously. His blue eyes train onto me, but they look behind him when he hears the fluttering.
"A bird?" He asks.
I nod. "It flew through my window."
"Oh," He says. And thats when I really get a good look at him. He looks healthy, his eyes focused but brows furrowed. He looks worried for me.
"Want some help?" He asks, I find it strange that he doesn't turn his face away if I bore my eyes into his. He just keeps staring back.
He has to ask the question again before I answer.
"Uh, catching the bird. Unless, you wanted another pet."
"No!" I say rather loudly, and he looks surprised, his face looking even more worried.
"Oh, okay. Well, open the windows and maybe it'll fly out."
"I could just shoot it."
"That too." He says while he turns around. "I'll be helping your neighbor out with breakfast okay?"
I don't say anything, and wait till he's in the kitchen before I race and find my bow and arrow. It feels strange to hunt indoors, almost comical. If prim was here-
I stop the thought before it can fully form, but it's too late, the name triggered something inside me, and I'm suddenly on the ground, my hands shaking, my body curled up onto the floor. The bird flutters right above me now, just looking at me. Its mocking me.
I stare up at it from my bundled up posture. He looks frightened, trapped and claustrophobic. Good. That's an awful feeling. And suddenly I don't want to kill it. I want it miserable.
I slowly stand up from my ball on the ground and trembling, walk towards every window and door and shut it. Then I find a shoebox. As it sees me with the box it begins to panic and runs into things in my living room.
"Katniss?" Peeta calls from the kitchen. I ignore him.
By the time Peeta enters the living room behind me I've got the little sucker in the box, it's little body banging against the edges, it's singing turning into a horrifyed scream. I begin to crush it.
"Katniss? What are you doing?" This time Peeta is accompanied by Greasy Sae and her granddaughter. I stop squishing it when the little girl looks up at me with big gray eyes. They're looking at me like I'm crazy.
And I am.
"This bird keeps me awake at night." I explain to them.
"We can put it in the soup." Greasy Sae says after a short silence.
"That's okay...I'll take care of it." I answer, Greasy Sae shrugs and goes back into the kitchen. I stuff the box into the hunting closet and join them for breakfast.
After Greasy Sae and her granddaughter leave, Peeta stays behind. This time I get the feeling he won't let me dismiss him like I did yesterday.
I'm sitting in the living room with the thumping shoe box when he enters from finishing the dishes. He sits in a chair across from the couch where I'm sitting.
Neither of us says anything. And its slightly awkward having the only sound coming from a caged bird.
Surprisingly, I'm the one to break the silence.
"Thanks for the plants." I can't make myself say the name of the rosebush.
"I was wondering..." But I don't bother finishing.
He perks up. "What is it?"
"I need a bird cage."
He looks down at my shoe box. "I could...make you one."
"You can do that."
He stands up to leave. Looks at me like he's going to say something, changes his mind, and then turns and leaves.
Then before I can stop myself, I say "See you at breakfast."