A Songbird For Elaine

A Songbird For Elaine

A Story by Lucas Grasha

A Songbird for Elaine


So it was over for her; she was going to be dead. Or at least she would be in a coma, and in the best circumstances she would be hospitalized for half of a year. She was in a car that had lost its ability to slow down, as the breaking system had failed for some unknown reason. But, she had a hunch about how the breaks on the car had been disabled.

            Her ex-boyfriend, Demyan, was a vengeful man; his vengeance is the reason that she broke up with him. She could no longer, and would no longer, deal with his short temper, as he would involve himself in fights that he didn’t start, dangerously teeter on the edge of the law, and would initiate conflicts over the most unimportant matters.

            She still remembered the look on his face the previous day. As he drove her home from high school, she spoke to him.

            “Demyan…” She said.

            “Yeah, Elaine?” Demyan replied.

            “We’re done with.” Demyan laughed hysterically; it was like the laugh of a hyena, right before the hyena was about to have its neck snapped in half by an angry lioness. He always acted like this on the serious issues; he would always laugh when images of war would be presented in history class, he would always laugh when someone was crying their eyes out because one of their own loved ones had died, he had no ability to take things seriously.

            But he looked to Elaine and she looked back at him; his laugh stopped as the car slowed to a stop at the red traffic light. Elaine’s eyes burned with her intent, and Demyan’s eyes were an opposing forest, fresh out of a long drought, just waiting to be burnt to ashes. He could not laugh away whilst staring into her gaze; every fiber of her being reigned with maturity, while Demyan’s inner-self could barely struggle to obtain even a small particle of Elaine’s intellectual dust trail. She looked forward in the car and stayed in that position, while Demyan was still frozen in time.

            “The light is green.” She said to him. Demyan turned to a frontal position while the car behind him beeped its horn. He put his foot to the gas pedal and drove to Elaine’s house. They spoke not a word more for the rest of the car ride.


            It was now in the moment that Elaine was in her car, rolling down her house’s steep driveway that she recalled something, something very important: Demyan did not know how to disengage the steering of the car. If Elaine could maneuver her car back and forth along the wide expanse of her driveway, she might be able to make the car travel sideways and slow it down considerably. Or, she could run the side of her car along the trees on either side of the driveway.

            So she started to turn the wheel left, and then right.

            Her car went from side to side with Elaine hoping that the car would stop when physics would start to work. She hoped right, and the car did start to move sideways. But, unfortunately, she hit a boulder on the side of the road. It wouldn’t have been a problem, but it caught her wheel in such a way that, at the speed she was traveling and due to the slope of the hill, caused the car to flip. Elaine’s car landed on its roof, but she knew it was going to happen. Before the car fully hit the ground, she got as low in her car as she possibly could and gripped the console in the middle of the car. The roof proved to be sturdier than what it looked. Elaine had hit her head and cut it on some piece of plastic or broken glass. She thought she would be fine, even if she was certain the doors probably wouldn’t open after the car’s roll-over.

            But Elaine was not safe, as the slope of the hill played into effect again. Her car was sliding on the gravel that made up the driveway. She was heading towards the side of the driveway; the area where there was a creek, but it was one that was below the level of the driveway. If she landed there, no one would be able to find her without looking for her in that exact spot. And surely, nobody would see her by the time of nightfall. As she head toward the embankment that led toward the creek, and further off of the gravel driveway, she became more worried.

            Elaine thought she was going to be dead.


            The night that she’d broken up with Demyan, she called one of her friends.

            “So, you broke up with the scumbag?” Elaine’s friend, Ivana, said as she answered her phone.

            “Yeah…” Elaine replied. “I’m not sure how well that he took it. He was silent for the entire car ride.”

            “Well, he still took you home, right?”

            “Yeah, he did. But that doesn’t meant he doesn’t have a grudge against me, or something like that.”

            “If he did overreact, I’ll know about it first.”


            “I have a few people keeping a tight watch on him, just to see if he does anything too unreasonable.”

            “So, you’re stalking him?”

            “Pretty much.”

            “Why the hell am I your friend?”

            “Because you love me, Lainie!” Ivana said in her most cheerful voice. Elaine chuckled.

            “Well, you’re right about that…” Elaine replied.

            “See? I knew it.” Ivana said.

            “You’ve known it for years…ever since we were seven.”

            “Yeah, I know. Hey, I just got an email from one of the people that I said was stalking Demyan, and he says that Demyan is at your house. And he says Demyan had something in his hand…Elaine…”

            “What?” Elaine said franticly.

            “Are you home alone, or is your dad home?” Ivana asked.

            “My dad had the day off, and he’s still home.”

            “Tell your dad to get the shotgun.”


            “Demyan has a gun, he has a gun, Elaine, shoot him, or run, or something! I’m coming over there right now! Kill that f****r!”

            “Ivana, wait…!” Ivana ended the call. Elaine dropped her phone into her pocket and ran up into her bedroom. She pulled out the bottom drawer of her dresser, which had a nine millimeter pistol in it. Her father had given Elaine this gun for instances like this. Well, Elaine’s dad had said the reason for the pistol once:

            “When those damn communist, Marxist, Maoist, Nazi Confucians from the Whitehouse come to take my guns, you can shoot ‘em.”

            “Dad, Confucians are people who follow the teachings of Confucius, which have nothing to do with any of the other titles that you just gave to the president of the country we live in.” Elaine would reply.

            “That’s what they want you to think.” Elaine’s father would reply.

            “Well, I’ll go on the internet and find some independent news organizations, and you watch your Glenn Beck shows.”

            “That’s what those liberal fascists want you to think!” Elaine’s father would shout while she walked up to her room.

            “Liberalism and fascism are two different things, Dad…” Elaine would quietly say to herself when her father ever put the two terms together into the same phrase.

            But the night that was happening now, where Elaine now stood at the doorway, with her gun in hand, ready to shoot Demyan…that was the reality she was in. She could see Demyan through the front door’s glass. He kicked the door a few times. Elaine could hear the frame of the door cracking. She wouldn’t last a second against Demyan’s gun (since he was on the rifle team at school), so Elaine remembered her gun training, and fired two shots into Demyan’s right shoulder: his shooting arm. She knew that he couldn’t fire a gun with his left hand, and if his shoulder was damaged enough, he wouldn’t be able to lift it up to fire.

            Through the shattered glass, Demyan struck his left hand through. He cleared away the glass that had been broken by Elaine’s shot. He could see Elaine, as the shield of glass between them was now broken. Elaine kept her gun trained on Demyan; she intended to shoot his left shoulder so that both arms would be inoperable.

            “Elaine…” Demyan said, his face starting to drain of color due to the blood loss. He might be dead in a few minutes with his severed arteries. “I need some medical supplies, Elaine; I need them now.” Demyan said in a very sickening tone.

            “I’ll shoot you in the collarbone if you don’t go away right now!” Elaine shouted.

            “Come on now, Elaine…you know from health class that I probably won’t last that long without medical attention. I need something to bandage these wounds.”

            “I told you to get away!”

            “You shouldn’t have said that…” Demyan reached over the broken glass and opened the door from the inside. The look of terror in Elaine’s eyes was indescribable, as the door to her house flung open, her killer waiting at the doorstep. Demyan raced for Elaine, and all that she remembered was emptying the gun’s bullet clip. All of the shots were discharged into Demyan as he fell flat to the floor. Blood poured out from his chest as he lay on the floor; there was no doubting that he was dead. Elaine broke out in tears over what she’d just done.

            She called the police, and a pair of officers in a cruiser showed up to take notes on the body. As Elaine cried on the front porch, she looked into the sky as the sun was setting. It would be dark soon, and she was surprised that Demyan tried to kill her in daylight. But, to Elaine’s amazement, a songbird perched itself on her railing Elaine was leaning against. The bird seemed friendly to her, so she offered a perch to the bird on her finger. The bird hopped onto Elaine’s finger and was completely content sitting there. It sang to her a beautiful song; a melody of chirps put together to a rhythm. The song was something so beautiful that it would make angels cry. And when the song was done, the bird seemed to smile and wink at Elaine, and if flew away. She didn’t manage to note what type the bird was, but its feathers were all white.


            Elaine’s car drifted down into the gully and into the creek. She shouted for help, but there was no answer. She pounded her fists on anything that was around her, trying to spill out her anger so that it wouldn’t be welled up when she was dead. But through her open window, came a bird; it was the same bird that had visited her the night before.

            It was the songbird.

            “You’ve come to sing me one last song?” Elaine asked the bird.

            The bird actually nodded its head in understanding. It sang her the same beautiful song it had sung to her the night before. The bird of white was her only funerary companion at the moment, and it was as if this bird’s song was Elaine’s eulogy. Elaine closed her eyes when the songbird had finished. She didn’t hear the bird fly away, but rather, the bird nuzzled up next to Elaine to sleep with her. Both of them fell asleep at the same time.


            Three days later, Elaine’s car was discovered. Police found it and took observations. They noted that Elaine was easily identified and died sometime before the police had arrived. When the car door was taken off to take Elaine’s body out of the car, the police noted that she had one, lonely white feather stuck into her shirt threads. It seemed like it was placed there on intention. One of the officers was stumped by this, but he looked inside the front pocket of Elaine’s shirt. He didn’t know why he was compelled to do this. But in that pocket, he found curled up, a dead bird. The officer found the find the strangest thing he’d ever seen. And the bird was strange as well; as he held it in his hand, it let out a note. But the note was mirrored by Elaine’s corpse. The officer looked back at the bird.

            He thought the bird was strange: it only had white feathers.

© 2011 Lucas Grasha

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Thank you for the powerful story. I like the situation and events in the short story. The internal conversation was very good. A very good ending to a excellent story. I like the characters and the emotion throughout the story.

Posted 10 Years Ago

I love how Elaine begins her own deathly story in the beginning.. I half expected her to be in that coma by the end, but she was not.. the bird image is beautiful, very well crafted, almost angelic. This is an excellent story, well executed, the flashbacks crafted well. Thanks for the read!

Posted 10 Years Ago

good story.
Esp the symbolism at the end.

Posted 10 Years Ago

this was really good the ending was sad but at the same time cute in a way lol great job :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on March 14, 2011
Last Updated on March 19, 2011
Tags: white bird, death, car, shooting, revenge, comfort


Lucas Grasha
Lucas Grasha

Pittsburgh, PA

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