The last person sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door…
With a crack like a whip the person rose from their repose and darted across the floor until with a mighty leap they left the ground and landed in front of the door with a tremendous crash. Their worn boots were scratched and tattered all over with the heels hanging by a single hair but they pounded the floor so hard that, if they had paid a shred of attention, they would have heard the wood give a low groan. Even harder did their heart beat against their chest, the flesh slammed over and over so it could the excited heart and its boiling blood could burst out and valiantly gaze upon the sight which greeted the person. They placed a bony, shaking hand against their rib cage, heaving gigantic breaths and trying to calm down. After a minute, their wheezes had subdued themselves, letting themselves become smaller, fainter, until the person could finally be at rest. With a final, deep sigh, they lifted their hand, and placed it on the rusted doorknob. They were careful to contain their excitement as they opened the door.
As they did so, they were too abashed to face their guest, so they merely closed their eyes. They let their body slump a little, giving the door a weak push forward. After a long silence, they gathered their composure, and straightened up. They stuck a few narrow fingers out, counting down. Three. Two. One. They opened their eyes as would a parent opening a sleeping child’s bedroom door. Stagnantly, painstakingly, they gave themselves not nearly enough time to work up enough courage. But soon enough, they could see clearly. And they stared at the pavement below, and atop the plethora of scratch marks, saw their companion: an old, hunched parrot, with a bandage wrapped around one leg and a light coating of dust on its wings. It stood as still as a tree, not giving the slightest hint of movement.
A pale, yellow grin crept around the person’s face, exposing to the cold wind a few dark gaps, where a bright white had once been. The brisk air hovered around the two, so brittle that it could shatter onto them at any second. The person’s hands shook a little, as if ready to rise in celebration. The bird stood as it had, not making the slightest movement. The person’s eyes began to feel burned, staring down at the parrot for what felt to be an hour, never daring to blink. Their ears twitched a bit, a pair broken radio antennae struggling to find a signal, to escape the silence. And yet, there was no noise. The breeze had died, long forgotten. Even the person’s breathing was no more than a frail whisper. More time passed and the silence grew, engulfing both person and parrot. The person began to clench their hands every now and then. Over time they would grip them harder and harder, sorely twisting them into vein-clad, meaty fists. Perfect for smacking a useless bird directly in the jaw.
The person felt, in some distant region of their mind, a tiny glimmer of a vision: the scene of the parrot punched so viciously that its beak shattered into pieces. They pushed the thought aside and continued staring at the bird, ignoring how badly their feet had begun to ache. More time passed. Still, the parrot stared with a fixated gaze into the person’s irises, and started to appear more akin to a totem pole than to a living, breathing creature. The vision returned to the person’s mind, except with a small addition: now, after the beak went flying off, a few little drips of fresh blood would fall from the mouth, staining the ground with a punishingly vulgar scarlet. Once more, they escaped the thoughts, trying to subdue their impatience by leaning a tad closer. Their legs shook as they approached the bird, barely able to stand but refusing to let their stare fall. Their eyes became a bloody red nearing that of the parrot’s plumage, noticing that its beak, rough and motionless, bore a resemblance to a miniature rock or pebble. Still, there was no sound.
The stone grew larger and larger, until it almost consumed all of the person’s sight. They approached so closely that their nose almost touched it. Their lips began to crack, having held their smile in the chill for much too long. For longer they waited, and yet, they heard only silence. Now, their nose touched the parrot’s beak. They let their mouth fall, not even noticing that it had moved. In fact, they had forgotten that they had a mouth. What was a mouth, anyway? What was a nose? Who were they? What were they? All that mattered was the bird. Nothing existed but the parrot. The person continued to gaze into its ashen grey beak, determined to wait as long as necessary, to wait until they died. More time passed. No sound. The person regained feeling in their eyes, as they became wet. In fact, some sort of water seemed to be streaming down them. No, they were definitely tears, streaming down their weary cheeks. They felt their legs shake even harder, and resigned them to fall.
They felt an intense, sinking pain in their knees as they hit the ground, and their arms felt as if their shivering bones were crawling back inside to shelter themselves from the cold. Soon their head bent down and followed their knees, their gaze descending from the bird. Soon, their head had reached such a depth that all that they saw was the cold, unwavering grey that lay below them, their freezing nose against the impenetrable stone. It did not matter if they could not see the bird, they realized as they gently closed their eyes once more. Their movements slowed down to a stop, as they chose to vanquish the silence themselves. They breathed a hoarse, feeble breath. “I am alone”. A few seconds passed, and the person heard a vigorous squawk from the parrot. “I am alone!” Soon, more snuck up on the person from behind. From the house, a few “I am alones” here and there crept up through the door. Not too long and the depths of the house screamed with the phrase, and the noise was strung into a cacophony of hundreds of feathers flapping and flying about and talons landing onto the floor and the metal of cages rattling and creaking and shaking and eventually surely fighting with one another as they began to tumble and topple onto the floor and doors broken flew open and birds flew all around the house and then all around the last person, clawing and scratching and screaming out into the vast empty universe.
“I am alone”.