I'm watching a contest. People are swallowing blackbirds. They stuff bird after bird into their mouths and run to an open window. Their lips part open and gape into a wide O. The blackbirds stream out, spread into a V-shaped flight pattern and travel out the window - over inky water, a blueberry sky and blackened trees all darkened by nightfall. A raven-haired woman loses her birds the fastest and wins. I don't see what the prize is.
Locations shift, I'm in a dark kitchen. There's a brick oven in front of me, bearing an enormous orange fire. This light alone illuminates the barren room. To my right is a wooden table, empty except for two bowls of thick tomato sauce and a loaf of crusty bread, half-eaten. A man sitting near the table summons me. He's shadowy and glossy looking. I can't make out features. He says to sit on his knee and I obey. Everything is dark and still, as if the room has frozen. The only sound, the only motion is my breath, as if my breathing alone is keeping real time while sight and motion has stopped...died.... My inhales quicken, rise and fall heavily. I'm aware that something is very wrong but I can't see what, I can't feel what. I'm raspy; I drag in ragged breaths. The picture is still but the air is violent and...I'm transported.
I'm in a vehicle. I've locked myself in. Danger is at my right - out the window, in a two-story house. The windows of the house warn me; they say run. I lurch from my seat, push open the door of the 1950's pickup truck that I've hidden in, and I'm running through woods. The trees are moving aside for me to pass. I'm gaining speed and leaves are streaming everywhere, much like the regurgitated birds, and the fear is falling away. I'm fading away. Everything goes white.