the woman that can speak to ducks

“You cluck and they’ll cluck back,” a woman whispers in my ear. She’s been teaching herself to speak with fowl, mainly chickens and ducks. Everyone regards her as mad, of which she definitely seems — her hair is ragged and face gaunt. She wears a long grey trench coat and spends most of the time in the filthy street outside my work making strange noises. Come to think of it, she’s always there, no matter what time of day I pass. There’s a good chance she doesn’t sleep. She does have one thing working against the popular theory that she is insane, however, and that is that the fowl do talk back. That can’t be denied.
That same day she whispered those words in my ear I witnessed her speaking with the severed head of a duck. Its skin was iridescent, without feathers. And despite its dismembered state it was indeed clucking back at the old woman. It’s funny I say “old” when I refer to her . . . because she isn’t in fact old; she seems old, no, she seems ancient, but she is probably younger than me.
Anyways, she picks up this iridescent quacking duck head by its long neck, and I can see large fangs in its mouth. They look like the fangs of a rattlesnake. She’s unconcerned with them. So unconcerned that she begins petting them with her index finger, slowly gliding it over the white fangs. The duck seems to be charmed by the sensation and its eyes begin to roll around in its head. As they do so I notice a speck of green peeking through the white of its cornea; which, at an opportune moment, the woman pinches with her dirty nails and out slithers a long worm. I pick it up to get a closer look. The worm has a human face. My face.

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