In a future where birds are extinct, genetically modified men take their motorcycles around the country to perform dances that remind people of the migrations that once took place.
Katherine Sparrow is one of my classmates from Clarion West 2005, and I’ve been a fan of her work ever since. In addition to her lovely and lyrical short stories, she also writes young adult novels which center on the theme of collective action. These days, she’s publishing urban fantasy on Amazon (though I must admit I haven’t read it — sorry, Katie!). Katie also conducted my wedding so I admit I’m rather partial to her. 😉
“The Migratory Patterns of Dancers” by Katherine Sparrow:
The inexorable pull to move south grows. The sun hums to me all day long that it’s time to go, go, go. The night sky is even more persistent–every constellation in the big Montana sky makes arrows pointing south. My appetite increases and I develop a layer of fat on my belly. My senses grow more intricate–smells carry layers of meaning, gnats and mosquitoes become visible everywhere I look, and the normal sounds of human civilization hurt my ears with all their chaos.
And now my eyes have changed. The cornea and pupil widen so that the white is barely visible. A mercy that the genetic modifications left me normal eyes for summer and winter, but when it changes, it is unsettling for everyone. My vision increases three-fold. It is the last sign that it is time.
“Your eyes look funny,” Marion says. My wife drops her fork onto her plate and starts to cry.
This is another sign, as real and inevitable as all the others.
“Josiah, don’t go this time. Stay here. Stay safe. We’ll manage, somehow.” She cries harder. Marion is beautiful when she cries. She breaks my heart every time. “Why won’t they ever leave you alone?”