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Author Topic: Short Story About Mechanical Birds  (Read 1788 times)
A Stubborn Chit
United States United States

« on: February 10, 2014, 06:16:08 am »

I wrote this short story based loosely on two characters from another story I'm writing. I'm not particularly enamored of the lyrics or my ending, among other things, but constructive criticism would be super helpful. Also, the name Rima is an allusion to Rima the Jungle Girl from the 1904 novel Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest, who could communicate with birds and had various adventures in the jungle. But I took all that from a Wikipedia article and feel kind of bad for using it, having not actually read the story. Aaanyway.
The clock is ticking, I can feel every shifting gear pulsing through my body. It’s about to ring. A few more seconds and it will ring. I vibrate, and a shrill bell sends sounds from my abdomen. My maker takes me down from my shelf and makes the shaking stop. He cleans me and winds me up for another day. He smiles at my eagerness, and opens the window for me to leave. I hop from his hands onto the sill, give him one grateful look, and flutter off into winter air.
My routine is solidified now. No more aimless swooping among cityscapes. There is one window I shoot for every day. He’s sitting there already. My songbird. He’s always at that window, quietly singing songs no one will hear but him. And me. And maybe his maker too, but I never see him around. He never sings the same song twice and I am disappointed to have missed any of his previous performances.
I land on a neighboring window and listen, trying to catch the melody of his new piece.
Dear Rima,
I see you there.
On a windowsill looking
Over your jungle.
Dear Rima,
I know your tale.
A thousand adventures
written on your wings.
Dear Rima,
I’ve heard you speak
To a hundred more creatures
Less eager than me.
Dear Rima,
I see you there.
Will you please tell me
Your stories.
My programming can’t handle the input, and all motor functions cease for a minute. I can only see his eyes locked onto mine. I lose all balance from my perch at the very edge and tumble downward. How do my wings work? Which gears are supposed to start turning? I can hear desperate operatic screaming from above. Just before I hit the paved alley below, my wings unfurl and catch an updraft. I flap hard, trying to get back my bearings. I land on the first windowsill and trip forward. I turn my head upwards. He’s sitting there.
“Hello Rima.” His voice is soft and smooth like caramel.
I open my beak to speak, wanting to tell him my real name. Nothing comes out. I close it and try again. I don’t hear anything. I close it again and shake my head.
“Oh,” is all he says. I’m glad I can’t cry. Instead I shuffle my feet to edge, ready to fly away. “No, please don’t leave.” His voice breaks, and I can’t imagine why. “I couldn’t follow you if you left.” I look back. He’s glancing down at his wings. They’re painted on. I’d never been close enough to see before. “A songbird doesn’t need wings.” I’ve heard something very similar before. I nod and walk back towards him. I put the base of my beak into the crook of his neck. He tilts his head toward me, crooning. This is not all I will ever want to say, but for this moment, it is all I need.
Witty Bard
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 07:53:42 pm »

What a great short story!  Have you ever considered getting your story published?  Witty Bard Publishing is hosting its first-time-ever Steampunk short story competition!!!  Each entry will be read and given full consideration by our panel of judges. And here is the best part... The winners get published!!! Our first Steampunk anthology will be titled: Top Hats & Tesla Coils: Tales of the Aether.  Submissions are due by April 19th!!!  Visit for submission details.  Check us out on Facebook at:

Best Regards,
Admiral Witty P. Bard

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