Flavio Cruz

I am a magnificent blue bird

Roland was the first one. He began to lose his memories, unable to recall even the simplest things. We watched as he wore a bewildered expression, questioning the world around him. It was evident that he had no grasp of our conversations. His distant smile suggested that he understood, but his understanding was obviously none. When Alberto, Roland's closest friend, started exhibiting the same forgetfulness, many speculated that he had contracted it from Roland. Some in our town did not understand how bacteria and viruses worked, clinging to the misguided belief that madness could be contagious. But I knew better. Madness was not something one could catch. The city doctor concurred, reinforcing that knowledge. He explained that sophisticated laboratory testing was the only way to unravel this enigma. Fortunately, he had already initiated the necessary procedures. Such matters were grave scientific endeavors that couldn't be hastened or resolved through casual street debates.

Suddenly, the situation took a harrowing turn. No amount of argument could contest the unyielding reality before us. Dr. Euzébio, our esteemed doctor, faced a grim predicament. He, too, had fallen prey to the mysterious ailment. It was disconcerting, to say the least. If one believed in spiritual matters, the situation possessed an otherworldly malevolence. Just imagine, even the doctor himself! A well-educated man, an expert in his field, and conscious of hygiene matters ensnared in this cruel trap. The extent of knowledge and culture he had amassed during his life was now rendered futile.

Fear began to grip the residents of our town. Some resorted to boiling water, while others sought refuge in alcohol as if such measures could fend off an insidious force. How foolish they were! How could alcohol be a deterrent against such a malady? Ignorance is truly a sorrowful state. There are complexities in this world that elude even the most intelligent minds. Consider the doctor's predicament. He, too, was unaware of the workings of this affliction. Ignorance is relative. Even the most knowledgeable among us can be ignorant, unaware of what those greater than us comprehend. To grasp the nature of our ordeal, we needed an individual of profound wisdom. It could not be just anyone. That much was clear.

All I can surmise is that it was a peculiar phenomenon. It began with two friends, then ensnared the doctor who endeavored to find a solution. Days transformed into weeks, and the three occasionally wandered the streets, greeting passersby, but their condition did not improve. Their conversations grew nonsensical, both among themselves and to us. Aside from that, everything appeared normal. They ate, drank, and traversed the streets, yet their minds seemed devoid of purpose. Slowly, we became accustomed to this bizarre reality. Perhaps it was because we tried to repress the problem, pushing it to the recesses of our minds, that the entity responsible decided to exert its dominance. In a span of one week, it claimed five more victims. A relative of the doctor, two uncles from his wife's side, a cousin of Roland, and another acquaintance of Alberto. The pattern of those affected seemed both logical and illogical. They were connected through kinship or friendship, which meant nothing because everyone was somehow linked in our town. It could only be a disease or, by chance, something supernatural. Some young individuals, tied to the "attacked" as they came to be known, opted to flee the town. One can never be too cautious; it could be contagious.

Our small community was secluded from the outside world, self-sufficient, and self-contained. We had all we needed within our borders. Hence, no one sought external assistance or endeavored to unravel the mystery that plagued us. I suspect that the true reason behind our inaction was fear. We were afraid of unmasking the truth. If it turned out to be a curable disease, then we could ask for help. But what if it wasn't? Suddenly, we would find ourselves in a dire predicament. Such matters were not to be treated lightly. Our circumstances were already dire, yet meddling with the unknown could exacerbate them. Nobody explicitly voiced this sentiment, but we knew the unspoken agreement. It was far from ideal yet remaining ignorant seemed preferable to risking catastrophic consequences.

The presence of the "attacked" ceased to disturb us. We became accustomed to their company, and life continued as best it could. However, we knew that it would not end there. Some occurrences lack visible logic, yet one can sense their impending inevitability. Several more weeks passed, and more people succumbed to the disease. After a couple of months, the number of afflicted individuals reached the hundreds. People scarcely took notice anymore. In our modest town, with just over a thousand inhabitants, a point arrived when the "attacked" outnumbered the unaffected. Except for the doctor, who played an exceptionally intricate role, the others carried on with their duties mechanically, akin to automatons. They fulfilled their tasks without conscious thought, their minds devoid of cognition.

We, the "healthy ones," were now a dwindling few. And then, the phenomenon entered a momentary hiatus. We allowed ourselves to hope that it was all over. But soon after, another peculiar occurrence unfurled. Large birds, akin to vultures in size, descended upon the city. However, they possessed a captivating hue of dark blue. Non-aggressive in nature, they meandered about on foot instead of taking to the skies. Occasionally, they would soar briefly before swiftly returning to the ground. Their numbers exceeded the hundreds, their behavior marked by astonishing ease and fearlessness towards us. At times, they would perch upon our shoulders, displaying remarkable amiability. It was utterly perplexing. As if our burdens were not heavy enough, this was yet another conundrum to confront. Yet, compared to the tribulations we had endured, it seemed insignificant.

Eventually, everyone succumbed to the disease. We had known that this outcome was inevitable.

I remained the final holdout, the last to succumb. From my elevated vantage point, I observe my earthly vessel below, traversing the city streets, engrossed in its daily routines, completely oblivious to the reality surrounding it. Yet, I possess control over my corporeal form. I speak not of my avian guise but rather my human form. I am rendered mute, my memories fading with each passing moment. Nonetheless, a semblance of understanding has coalesced within me. I am a resplendent blue bird, able to manipulate my human vessel. Communication with the other avian beings, or the other denizens of our town, eludes us. Nonetheless, a shared comprehension exists between us. We take flight briefly, only to alight upon a deserted street.

I am a resplendent blue bird. Truly magnificent. As I mentioned earlier, everything now falls into place. Of course, no explanation can be found, and what caused all this is not within human knowledge. Yet, who truly comprehends the cause of anything? We remain steeped in ignorance. None understands how everything came into being, how the world and the universe materialized. It is an inscrutable enigma. Why should I yearn for further knowledge or endeavor to achieve more? It is unnecessary. Being a bird, particularly a magnificent blue one, suffices for me, at least for now...


All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Flavio Cruz.
Published on e-Stories.org on 06/15/2023.


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