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TITLE: Bird in Snow
AUTHOR: Tabula Rasa
DISTRIBUTION: Oh, anywhere
SPOILERS: "William"

SUMMARY: Just look at the title. Really.

TIMELINE: Some years from now

NOTES: This was for a Writer's Block challenge on E-Muse, so lots of thanks to Bonetree for coming up with it.

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After it happened, he went up in the attic to think. He was a pensive child already, and this was how he dealt with things. He sat in the attic and stared out the window, watching the snow as it moved in whorls and listening to it whir against the window and sides of the house. He was frowning, although his expression wasn't as heavy as the iron grey clouds outside.

It was a puzzle, and William liked puzzles. He liked detective stories too, so he treated this problem like a detective story. Gather all the clues, see what picture they made. But no matter which way he turned the picture-puzzle, it looked the same.

The bird had bounced off the window with a bang and flopped in the snow and dirt. He'd run downstairs and gone out to rescue it from the cold. Its black eyes had stared up him, and he picked it up. Its feathers were ruffled and its claws needle-sharp on his ungloved hand, and it hadn't moved. There was a dark, sticky spot on its head where the feathers were matted.

It had flown into the second story, William-in-the-attic reasoned, and fallen down-- that had to be like falling off a cliff. It had just started snowing, and there was less than an inch on the ground-- no cushion. Its head was cracked. It was dead.

William-outside had, thoughtless, touched the sticky spot. His finger tingled, but it was cold and maybe going numb? He blinked, and the spot wasn't so large as it was before he'd blinked. He lifted his finger away, and the bird sat up, shook its head, and flew away.

William-in-the-attic wasn't sure it should have done that.

His mother called up the stairs: "William! Time to go! Get your head out of the sky, baby!"

William very slowly pulled his head away from the window, and pressed his finger against it instead. He left a spot of red on the window and went downstairs.