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by crowspark 

Posted: 06 January 2005
Word Count: 226
Summary: Hatch challenge

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I dream of mountains and fjords, of pine woods far away over the sea.

How many minutes and hours, days and years have I been imprisoned here? What crime condemned me, to be trapped inside this instrument of torture?

The floor beneath me shakes with the aweful thuds that measure out my days. Dust from above trickles down covering my back and head. There is no room to turn or preen.

No hour passes without an attempt to escape but always I am dragged back. But today, at my last attempt, something broke loose. Maybe next time I can flee.

The dreadful stirrings beneath me begin again, chains clank, levers groan, gears and cogs grind as the hatch before me trembles on its hinges.

Blinding light pours in as the hatch springs wide. I shoot out into the void. When the tongue of wood beneath me stops I soar onwards, my call of servitude now a cry for freedom; "Cuckoo!"

Rigid at my sides, my untried wings fail me. Instead of gliding I plunge down to bounce on the floor, my lower beak torn away in splinters. Another bounce and I land with my kin in the fireplace.

I writhe pheonix-like amongst blazing spitting logs, paint blistering, wings sprouting blue flames.

Will they ever notice that the cuckoo has flown the nest?

(c) Bill West 2004

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 13:30 on 06 January 2005  Report this post
Bill, I think the word fjords gave it away for me but good fun!

I have no room to preen = poor thing!


anisoara at 13:56 on 06 January 2005  Report this post
I read this twice, the first time I didn't get it, the second time I did - "Cuckoo!" Funny! (Poor little bird.) Well done.

crowspark at 18:55 on 06 January 2005  Report this post
Thanks Elspeth, the original plan was to make the reader think that it was a battery hen but that never happened.

Thanks Ani, I hate cuckoo clocks so imagined myself trapped in one.


crowspark at 20:37 on 06 January 2005  Report this post
I have re-edited a bit to see if it helps. I think this is a bit clearer.

Silverelli at 05:54 on 07 January 2005  Report this post
Very clever, Bill. I hate cuckoo clocks as well, actually I hate all clocks that make noise, especially alarm clocks. Can you imagine being trapped in an alarm clock, holy shit. Okay, it's late and I'm cuckoo. You packed a smart flowing piece in a few words, Bill. Nice.


bjlangley at 08:04 on 07 January 2005  Report this post
Great fun Bill. It wasn't until the word 'cuckoo' that it all fell into place, then everything before made perfect sense. I loved the pheonix reference, and felt sorry for the poor wooden bird at the end!

All the best,


DerekH at 13:31 on 07 January 2005  Report this post
Bill, this has to be the most original entry. I don't know how you got from the word 'hatch' to writing a piece from the point of view of a cuckoo in a clock :). I love it... especially the way the clock workings are so much bigger from the cuckoo's pov; I was visualising a dungeon.

Brilliantly done, and lovely language as ever...


Jubbly at 20:31 on 07 January 2005  Report this post
Grat flash Bill, I had to read it twice, being thick I first thought it was a bird trapped in a chimney, loved the last line. Hey, can you get a cuckoo clock chime as a ringing tone.



Whoops, should read 'great'.

crowspark at 22:08 on 07 January 2005  Report this post
Thanks Adam, don't start me on alarm clocks, hell is a timepiece!

Thanks Ben, yes pheonix for rebirth, swan (song) for death and cuckoo, guess that's me!

Thanks Derek, glad you liked it. No one has said it was funny though! :(

Thanks Julie, yes I suppose all that dust could distract but glad you got it. A ring tone? Please don't encourage them :)


DerekH at 00:31 on 08 January 2005  Report this post
:)... I can see the funny side, Bill. Visualising the scene as the pathetic thing falls and breaks it's beak is very funny, especially if imagined as a badly performed and surreal puppet show with a Vic Reeves voice over, or nice bit of Spike Milligan low budget prop usage (price tag still on the bird) :)...

I'll be honest though, it didn't come across that way until you mentioned it being funny. I don't know why...

Still great stuff,


Dee at 11:02 on 08 January 2005  Report this post
Awww… Bill… this is so sad. And funny. And very cleverly written. Yes, the mechanism must be gigantic to such a little bird.

Glad it landed in the fire – at least it can’t be glued back together and returned to prison!

Typo: phoenix. And it should be hyphenated to 'like'.

Great stuff,


crowspark at 11:17 on 08 January 2005  Report this post
Yes Derek, a Milligan absurd pathos will do fine - thanks again.

Hi Dee, thanks for the comment and the typo (now fixed). Originally the cuckoo was going to be chewed by the dog and flung into the fire but I thought he had suffered enough!


scottwil at 12:32 on 09 January 2005  Report this post
What a fabulous piece. Delightful.
I love the way you use language to make one think the wrong way.
Well done, Bill.


crowspark at 13:51 on 09 January 2005  Report this post
Thanks Sion, glad you enjoyed the nuances.


radavies1uk at 18:18 on 22 February 2006  Report this post
Hey Bill

This is great. I had to read it twice to get it, but enjoyed it both times :)

I liked "Blinding light pours in as the hatch springs wide." cos I was kinda waiting for the release from the chains, gears, levers and cogs,
but I probably would have made a bigger deal about how bright it is.

Thanks for the great read :)

crowspark at 20:16 on 22 February 2006  Report this post
Thanks Bob. Glad you enjoyed it.

I was wondering which short flash to submit to Quictiononline which has a word limit of 299 words max. I may send them this one.

Thanks for reading.


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