“Hold still!” Pepper shouted as the blue jay flew off. She knew she shouldn’t have shouted, but her frustration with the fidgety bird overcame her.
She was in Downtown Santa Celia trying to snap a contrasting picture that illustrates humanity. She concluded that an image with an animal who wondered the city in search of shelter and food would be contrasting enough. She wanted to show the animals loss of habitat and how it has to adapt to its new surroundings. Except she couldn’t get a picture of this stupid bird. Pepper needed a break; she was getting too heated. Why was she so mad about a bird? She gave up on taking a picture and decided to go for a walk.
She wanted a perfect picture. Though she knew, no matter what picture she took, she would think it wasn’t good enough.
While walking through downtown, she found a small park past a few tall buildings. Approaching the park, she noticed there was an abandoned playground that seemed like it needed some love. Memories flooded back to Pepper of her hometown when she was playing on the swings, and breaking her left arm on the monkey bars, but that’s beside the point. She walked to the swings and sat. She started to wind herself back, ready for a full WOOSH sound when she let go. The breeze in her hair, the light feeling of gravity, made her calm again. She misses being a child, more so the fact that she didn’t have a normal childhood and still craves that. It started to drizzle, which didn’t bother Pepper. She loves water, and her clothes aren’t boujee enough that they need to stay dry.
A wave of loneliness washed over her, which is rare. She got off the swing and sprawled out on the ground, her bag beside her. She closed her eyes and breathed, imagining she was in a lush forest with light green highlights and a clear blue sky. She added the sound of running water going over a bed of rocks to mimic the sound of the rain. She connected herself with the world, delving into the imaginary scene she just created in her mind. She wished she could become a part of the grass; feeling the breeze of the wind and the energy pulsating through the ground.
She almost believed that the pulsing from the ground was in her head.
She felt the ground shake. Like something underneath it ruptured from far away. She opened her eyes and saw smoke in the sky. That was when she began to notice the smell of smoke caused by a fire. She sat up, but couldn’t see any sign of fire near her. She wasn’t too worried about it, so she laid back down. It was probably a bad car crash.
Though it started to rain heavier, she entered into her world again, trying to ignore the smoke. She enjoyed the smell of rain; that was her favorite scent. The smoke seemed to vanish from her senses as she began to take everything in. She felt like she was sinking into the Earth, somehow more different than usual. She couldn’t describe it, no matter how hard she thought. She enjoyed this new feeling though, hoping it would never go away.
While relaxing, she felt something touch her stomach. With a panic, she was ready to beat the shit out of whatever it was. Her eyes opened, and before she could get up and fight, she realized how low she was on the ground. Or more, like, in the ground. The only way she could describe it was being as flat as a pancake. Her heart started racing, as she thought she was hallucinating. She couldn’t raise herself up right away because she was stricken with fear. She froze, unsure of what to do. Her eyes moved to look at her stomach to see what was touching her.
The blue jay from earlier was just sitting on her.
That wasn’t the only thing she noticed. As her eyes traveled lower, her body was composed of dirt and grass.
DIRT AND GRASS.
She thought, Am I dead? and Maybe that wasn’t smoke but actually a poisonous gas that makes you go on an LSD trip. She wanted to scream, but still frozen, she just watched the bird walk around in the grass.
With the thought that a picture can’t alter reality, she grabbed her camera, and took a picture of where her lower half should be. The shutter sound startled the bird, and it flew off. She hoped it would find shelter in the rain. Still disoriented, she sat up slowly. She notices her legs are still blended onto the ground, but she only cares about seeing the picture she just took.
The camera doesn’t lie.
Soaking wet, she goes to the gallery on her camera and clicks the picture.
The only thing she sees is the bird.