The Ayam Curtain: A Prologue

Birds talk, you know, of the places they go, visited in this world and in others.

You see, they sometimes travel through the thin wall between universes, into alternate pasts and presents and futures, to see the fantastic things none of us can. This they tell each other.

Old men in parks speak of vanished times as birdtales soar over them, suspended from wire loops, song unencumbered by cages;

Orchard Road evenings drown out the sound of cars with the cacophony of fantasy crashing overhead, what-ifs and maybes accordioning into a joyful band of toneless noise;

What do birds dream of, in cages and in coops, their little avian brains winging to places their bodies cannot?

An old man walks down the path, slowly now, in one branchlike hand a cage, draped in a soft brown-and-beige pattern recalling sarong hammocks. He hangs it on the perch, and the storyteller within chirrups in anticipation, barely holding back its song.

The curtain lifts.


The Ayam Curtain is an anthology of very short Singaporean speculative fiction that Joyce Chng (@jolantru) and I are editing, to be published with Math Paper Press in the second half of 2012. We are looking for stories! Go here for more information on the open call. Submissions close 31st May 2012.