walking through a cheerful, sunlit neighborhood, when a robin leaves its branch and lands on my right arm. it immediately lays its body along my arm, the better to clamp its beak lengthwise on a fold of my skin. it is quite painful, but I understand that the bird is merely trying to warn me away from danger. shortly, a blue bird I do not recognize joins the robin on my arm and does the same, indicating I am traveling toward rather than away from the danger. then a grackle adds itself to my living sleeve of feathers. I am walking down the sidewalk with three birds laying flat on my arm and grasping it with their beaks like vise grips. they do not move or squirm, merely remain painfully gripping my flesh. then the bluebird lets go and flies off over the rooftops. by this time I understand that the source of the danger is aware of me and it is too late for me to flee (but not for them). I see some kids getting let out of school and I turn away from them, I do not want them caught up in whatever happens. the grackle chooses this time to make its escape, leaving a second long welt down my forearm.
as I come upon a narrow river running through the park, the bravest of my small friends, the robin, suddenly releases my arm and launches itself for a nearby tree. the danger is here! as I am watching the robin, something grabs my ankle, and I look down to see a drowned man pulling himself from the river. he has been murdered and will have revenge upon the living, even if he is too far gone to understand that I am not the one who killed him.
although actually it would turn out that I had killed him, many years before.