Eric Stragger was different from other men.   He was not especially handsome and certainly not wealthy, but he had a secret.  He thought he was the only one until he discovered the “others.”  Eric was a Birdman.   He couldn’t fly exactly, but he could hop & jump great distances.   He also spoke like a bird in a high pitched voice like a “tweet.”   His bird power was his secret.   Late at night, Eric ruled the air, jumping across the sleeping city.   His secret joy was shattered when he met the others.   He saw glimpses at first, shadows that whisked across dark streets and alleys.  They looked like huge ravens: skulking, looking for prey.  Eric never thought of himself as a bird of prey.  He was more like a canary or love bird, warbling in the night from pure joy.  The other Birdmen were like another species.   Eric learned the truth when they cornered him one cloud covered night.   He stopped to admire himself in the dark window of a large market.   He preened in pure delight.  The cackling sound diverted his attention.   When he turned he saw them: black shrouds with ragged growths that approximated wings.  The limed light glinted off enormous claws.   Eric was terrified – he always knew he was human with special abilities, but these creatures were something else entirely.   He was backed against the window as the creatures closed in on him.   The chilly night invaded Eric’s spine like an icicle.   He was certain he faced unholy demons. One of them stepped forward and raked the air with his claws.   A low, rumbling voice addressed Erik, “Hey mister, you got the time?”   It all made sense.  The Birdmen faded into the shadows.   Eric faced a version of himself, another lonely soul looking for a friend.


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