Ascension: A Bird in the Hand

“What do you want of me?” she asked the bird.

“Information,” it replied, pecking the ground. “Insight.” It caught a writhing beetle and swallowed it whole.

“Into what?”

“This realm – and those who dwell within.”

“You wish me to spy on my fellow saints?”

“Nuncio,” the bird hopped closer, “we fear dark forces are at work here. Forces which threaten us all.”

She considered this, before replying, “And what should I gain?”

“Palliation. You could be here for subjective centuries awaiting entry to the true realm of heaven. I can hasten the process. Or,” it threatened sweetly, “stop it entirely.”

And leave me here for eternity, she thought.

“You are hungry,” it continued. “Allow me.” Succulent berries appeared in her hands; she ate ravenously, and then, sated, held one out to the bird. Unable to resist, it hopped closer – and she snatched it up as it lunged at the fruit.

“On consideration,” she told the writhing thing in her hands, “I fear I must reject your proposal.” And swiftly, she wrung its neck.

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