featured in Baroque Report Z

The Girl who Twisted a Songbird into a World

A short story by Kazunari Yonemitsu

Discharging electricity, he drew near.
Sense Spheres are data-harvesting instruments for the purpose of healing distortions in matter.
These round objects are, typically, found partially submerged in the ground.
At this point, they alone cannot correct the world. Not anymore.
This is what I believe.
There are, however, those dedicated enough to alter themselves for the sake of this mission.
People equipped with Sense Spheres, their own brains damaged in the process.
I call them Sense Sphere Cyborgs.
The person I speak of is one such individual.

He currently stands atop a skyscraper, for it is there that something exists. Something which is emitting a massive distortion.
Fixing such massive distortions is difficult. Oftentimes it is easier to simply obliterate the source of the distortion itself, and it is specifically for this task that the Sense Sphere Cyborgs were created.
As if perplexed, the Sense Sphere Cyborg approaches as electricity courses through the multitude of wires and spheres that entwine his black body.
It’s a young girl.
Her black hair flutters in the strong winds howling around the top of the building.
This small girl does not understand just what she is.

The girl peers into the heart of the Sense Sphere Cyborg.
How is this possible?
That such a young human could wield such a powerful distortion is preposterous.
Boys and girls that age should not have developed the rigid ego necessary to produce distortions on such a scale.
What distortions they do hold are weak and fleeting, and never able to be sustained for long. Surely this is what the Sense Sphere Cyborg must be thinking.

The girl’s eyes, green in color, seize upon the black cyborg.
Black, eaten by rust, and standing just under 2 meters tall, the mess of spheres and slender nerve-like wires resemble some kind of deranged Christmas tree.
The sound of discharging electricity resonates in the air, as if any moment now, rain could begin falling from the darkening sky.

The sensors of the Sense Sphere Cyborg detect wings on the girl’s back. As soon as he’s seen them, they vanish.

With a bizarre metallic shriek, the Sense Sphere Cyborg leans down to the girl, arms outstretched. In order to embrace her, in order to crush her to death.
No matter who they may be, anyone possessing a large distortion is to be destroyed, obliterated. That was the mission he was given, the reason for which he exists.
The girl’s delicate body bends in a strange manner.
Warm. She emits a soft heat.
The girl’s hands feel hot.
His mind is racing.
I’m a songbird. Even though I’m trapped in this abominable birdcage of a world, one day I will slip between the bars of this world and take flight as a songbird does.
The Sense Sphere Cyborg certainly must be feeling the girl’s body bending and breaking. Die, vanish, distort, disappear. As the girl’s body is maimed, her thoughts are racing.
Her eyes violently oscillate and her back arches as one final breath escapes her small chest.
Was that the sound of her delicate bones breaking?
No. It was the sound of something the girl held in her hands, falling to the floor. An artificial Sense Sphere.
A cry of pain escapes the girl’s lips.
A sliver of saliva falls from her open mouth.
The Sense Sphere Cyborg gathers strength. His racing mind stops on one final thought: death.
The girl’s neck twists, her face entering the cyborg’s field of vision.
The smile he sees on her face shakes him.
The black clouds part to emit a ray of light. The sound of the wind is silenced.
Huge white wings appear from the girl’s back. A gale is generated as the wings embrace the Sense Sphere Cyborg. Feathers dance in the air like snow.
Another cry of pain, this time from the Sense Sphere Cyborg.
The sound of something boiling can be heard.
He drops to his knees. His iron plated bones break from his flesh, twist, and lengthen. The girl’s lithe body straightens upright with the grace of a ballerina. The Sense Sphere Cyborg slowly distorts within the girl’s wings.
His ribcage extends, his flesh melts away.
Internal organs evaporate, ascending to the heavens as if pleading forgiveness.
Blood and flesh, no longer necessary.
The girl’s frail chest painfully rises and falls with difficulty.
A vortex of wind forms the uncanny likeness of a logarithmic spiral, as if it were some kind of incantation.
Sweat flows. Wrapped in the girl’s embrace, he moans as his black body deforms.
His voice escapes, unbidden.
The white wings, now dyed red, fold.
The distortion is complete.
His upper body is shaped like a man, yet inside he is hollow.
The distortion takes the form of a birdcage constructed from steel beams, his grasping hollow arms continually discharging electricity.
Like a stubborn animal, he lost sight of the world he so desperately wished to escape from - despite all the while knowing it was a fruitless endeavour.

The voice that comes from the girl’s lips is not her own.
“This was the first transformation.”
She smiles a satisfied smile.
That smile is my smile.
“I christen you World.”
That voice is my voice.
But it is already too late for my voice to reach World. Lesser Abnormals cannot communicate with words.
Laying on my bed in the dark, the face of my elder sister drifts into my mind. Wait for me, I plead.
Going deeper into my thoughts, I see the face of a friend who suffers from identity dissociation disorder. Do not betray me, I plead.
Borrowing the girl’s body, I advance on to the next stage.
“Still 22 more…”
Back then, I felt fear when I witnessed the grotesque operation that turned you into a Sense Sphere Cyborg.
But the fear inside me was actually something more akin to admiration.
You, whose function was to correct distorted delusions, became one of those very same distortions.
That voice is my voice.
All for the sake of a new world…