The Gods of Soho
René Adams
1,198 words

Ammut’s wet eyes looked up at the twin plates hovering above his nose, in the hope that the scales holding a heart and a feather would tip towards his liking, meaning that the heart was heavier, and that it would be his to eat.

He wiped his face with his paws, smiling, knowing he had less to worry about than the man being restrained in the room, as the judgment took place.

He wandered in and out of the man’s legs in a figure of eight, to see if his furless hide could increase the man’s anxiety. He skipped away and rolled onto his back with laughter as the man shook, and watched him gently soil himself as he was held, stretched in the room.

Misha pecked at the moulding tablet of aspirin he’d stored in the corner of the roost, and skipped over to his wife, where she lay on her side, emptying the tiny crushed particles of white pill into her beak.

“Eat some lover, it’ll help…” He said, looking down at the place where her foot had been before the accident. His wife did as he said, and opened her mouth to lick at the medication. She continued to coo – hanging between lucid words, shuffling in her wings as she lay on the ground.

Misha told the ghosts glazing her eyes: not to come for her on his watch.

Because, there is a guardian here, who will not lay down.

And whom is part ghost himself.

So he knew their dances. And he said to death: a song made from their bastion of love. His eyes were dirty green. And fate was lucky enough to have them. He watched over Siyella. He didn’t accept that she was departing. He called out distraught to the darkness, solemnly, and said: I before her, you old antogoniser!

I before her, I am here, and now you must depart from this place.

He nuzzled her and spoke as she spoke “Come on honey, up now, you must get up, here-“ He said, placing an infant worm into her mouth.

“Ammut Ammut Ammut, he comes… oh…” She said, thrashing in the building crevice where they’d made their home, “Now now love – don’t panic – I have a great auntie who lived on with no leg at all! She lived on to family one of the largest roosts in London!

There’s no Ammut here!” He cooed resolutely, “He or she, or whatever he is can just fly away! Away with the rabid! We have food! And you are strong my beloved!” He said watching over his mate.

“The scales, I saw them, they’re written in stone – behind the great glass! – I saw them in the bright building, before I was chased away-“ Siyella said, as she flapped up to her remaining foot, and hopped around their home.

“What building, where, where?!” Misha said following her half-skips around in the crevice, shadowing her as she attempted to walk again, unused to only having one leg to do it by.

Six limping hops took her from one side of the space they’d found inside the bricks, turning, and then back again in a circle. Misha followed his wife as she paced around on her one leg, dragging the remains of her crippled foot on the floor. He followed her to make sure that she didn’t suddenly flap outside; through the bricked gap over looking the Church court yard where they lived.

“The big big-one!” She said lolloping, “Near Russell square, the building of Ammut’s pillars!” She cooed shaking her head.

Misha pecked into her folded wings, pulling out a soft piece of down, “Heyyy” Siyella said halting, and hoping around on her foot to face her husband, “Why’d you do that?” she said, hurt.

“You went to the British History Museum.” Misha said, as he rubbed his beak over hers, and dove into her chest plumes, gobbling a mite.

“Yeah, so!” She said as the 11pm bell of the church tower chimed.

“It was there it was there it was there! – I saw it” She replied, flapping her eye lids and swaying slightly as the aspirin took effect, nulling her damaged leg.

“What did you see?” Misha cooed back at his wife, pecking at her mangled ankle, “Wow, never eaten pigeon before, we taste good!” He said, raising his neck to help the scraps pass down his throat, “Don’t laugh, I saw it, I saw the scales…” Siyella replied lowering her head, as Misha spat out the remains of her foot into the court yard below.

“There was dog – a waiting one – underneath a set of scales – and he eats your stuff if you’re not careful!” Siyella said, “What? Like this-“ Misha said, pecking on the first feather from her plume, that he touched when they first met, “Noo owww,” She said cooing with laughter.

“He: jumps up” Siyella said explaining what she’d seen, by jumping up herself, “If your heart is heavier than the feather on the other side” She said opening her eyes, as if it was about to happen; she had the exploding sun iris, as inherited from her birth line, where her pupil was a single twitching dot, in the middle of light orange flames, that spoke even when she didn’t, passing into the deeper sunlit reds that surrounded the edge of her eyes.

“But we have pigeon hearts my love… They’re bound to be lighter than a feather!” Misha said staring his beak back at her, and lifting one of his feet up, waggling it around in the air.

“Ohh… Don’t make fun of me!” His wife replied, “Ha – watch it! Ammut’s comin’!” Misha said pushing his head into his wife, making her sway over, as she regained balance again in the roost.

She pecked back at her husband, and flapped her wing in his face, making him lose balance, and fall down into the court yard.

Siyella followed him out in a rush of feathers, controlling the current within her plumes as she flew down over him, as Misha in turn opened only one wing, to rotate his body back to its front, as they headed down within London’s early dusk and flew along the illuminated lights of Waterloo bridge, one feral beside another, changing direction before they reached the far side, and choosing to fly apart, and away from each other, crossing in sweeping x’s beneath the bridge, through it, and only a hair distance of their chests above the river’s current, their wings cut through the rain as they soared again, and rose above the London eye, as they flew over its slow rolling movement, as the night blinked in their eyes.

“How’s your foot ma chérie?” Misha cooed back in the wind; watching his wife veer away and sweep back to his side, as they changed direction and headed towards Soho, changing again
and again.

“Oh it’s ok!” Siyella sang forward, playing with the current, and propelling herself over her husband with a sweep, as they flew up and landed on Big Ben.

She waggled her numb stub in the air, and rocked over slightly, as her mate leant his head into her, nudging her back up.

And then they gazed out, over their city, in the silence of two mongrel birds making two
making one
as the clock chimed midnight
and they cooed between
and over the din.

Something scattered them again, as they flapped away from the spiked roof.

And after that, well…

Then they just dived.

And dived, and dived…

I love you more than shadow.

The Gods of Soho said to each other, en flight.



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