Chapter Twenty-One, Part Two: La Dame à la licorne, À mon seul désirMature

The bird shrinks to normal, frozen with fury as the Doctor takes up a stick and settles it on the fire. The light, however, is soon done for, for the bird flies up above the flames, beating his wings and screaming triumph. The wind blows across the burning driftwood, extinguishing the heat and light into tiny chunks, fragrant embers melting into pools of ash more grey than orange. 

Sudden as a gnat on a horse, the bird flies at the Doctor, then veers at the last moment, an errant boomerang. 

He is baffled. Why has this happened? Was he turning a certain way? Absent hearing brings a soft tinkling noise to mind, and he lifts his pocket watch to his face. Surely this was the reason? The gull-bird is above instead of below, and he sees an opening. He runs at the bird, throwing pebbles and sand he scoops up as he hops from rock to rock. Spying a large crag near the cave entrance, he runs for that when the bird begins to follow. He can hear the beating of its wooden wings- an oboe with the flu. 

And once the gull is gaining, it’s as he wanted. Soon, bird, soon, he thinks, when I reach the cliff I’ll do for you. 

He is atop the cave now; the gull is flying for his face, his neck perhaps. It means to eject him. But he keeps his fingers on his pocket watch, concealed under his coat. 

Now he can see the wooden feathers, so lifelike they spread with the creak of old oaks as the bird draws nearer. 

The eyes shine like polished wooden shooters as he steps aside just in time, revealing the glint of his pocket watch to the sun overhead.

The End

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