The Ragman Files

But it was all new to him as he was new to it all as well no one ever seeing or being near a real living ragdoll man. And, to them that would later meet him it was a very strange tale that was told with whispers mostly because such things as a living ragdoll man are impossible —- at least in the common speak of the day and was only spoken of when the doors were closed and bolted at night for fear of —– well the fear of —– a fear of something we cannot speak of here as it might come and then what? But he was alive and he was alone and he sorely sought his own kind —- but he had no knowledge of what he was either. Our poor ragdoll man was alone and so he sat and stared at the stars and the moon and he picked up the pile of colored cloth strips lying at his feet and he held them to his face so that he could breathe in their scent.
And there, as he sat and smelled each strip, some having exotic scents and some very bland, he became mesmerized by all that was around him, hypnotized by it all, not understanding, but not afraid, and then, slowly, his eyes closed and he slept. When the dawn came he woke and found himself in the glen with just one other creature present, and that was the butterfly upside down on the grass near his pile of rags. Oh, how joyful he was to see it there, but then he thought to himself, if he could think as we are not sure that he could as far as understanding what he thought about the world around him, that it seemed odd to him for it be lying on its back and not fluttering about as it had the day before. And, so the ragdoll man gently reached out and with just the tippy tip tip of a finger he touched the butterfly that was lying in the grass on its back.
He felt the softness of the butterfly’s body as it lay on the ground beneath his touch. He expected it to rise up from where it was and fly to his nose again where he would once again stare at it cross eyed. But it did not move and so he sat for a very long time staring down at it while tucking in the loose ends of his ragdoll body.
He touched it again after a few moments and he spoke to it, if you can say he spoke as he issued a noise from within not unlike speaking but it was a low hum and no words that we would know were formed. At first he was startled. He brought both rag arms to his chest and stomach area for that is where he thought the noise came from. He sat back and waited for more noises to come while a group of inquisitive Robins flew in to land near him. But nothing happened. No sound.
So, he touched the butterfly’s body again and waited to hear noise coming from within his own body and when nothing was heard he drew himself up and stood looking down at the dead butterfly wondering what to do. Death was nothing he knew about. He knew nothing really about being alive. And then he did a strange thing (something odd to you and to me) he bent over and carefully picked the butterfly up by its wings and lovingly placed it in what suddenly had appeared on his then chest of rags and was much like a pocket.

Not far from where the ragdoll man sat, surrounded by a black wood, with the sun slowly rising and burning off the dew drop mists that covered all like a thin sheet of moist silk, black birds rose from the limbs and the leaves they had slept within and took to the air calling one another as they flew ever higher, challenging those who rose with them to gain speed and altitude while greeting the warmth that slipped down on them from above and to the east. Their purple black heads twisted this way and then up and then down and then to the opposite side and away and back as they searched the air for predator and friend and then one saw the ragdoll man in the field far below. Wheeling in flight, it brought in its wings fully in and dropped like a falling spear towards what had become a target far below, it came with eyes wide open, its dive growing in speed at moment by moment through the clouds it came focused on the multitude of colors it saw on the ground below which moved suddenly causing the bird to wide spread its wings, cupping them, grabbing at the surrounding air——brakes slammed on with his beak mouth wide open emitting a shrill cawww! that slipped past it in the rush of air and rang out to all the others in flight and to those on the ground.

The ragdoll man looked up just in time to see the great bird hurtling towards him shouting, “Get out of the way.” The bird could speak, you see, and as it was incapable of being able to stop or break from the speed of his diving, the creature smashed head-on into the body of the rag doll man that had been the bird’s target not knowing that the pile of cloths was in fact sentient like himself for the bird was quite aware of its place in life, unlike the rag man. The collision sent a large part of the ragman’s colored cloths sailing to become free agents in the light wind that summer’s day in 1943. The crow un-wedged itself from the rag man. It sat back on its tail feathers and stared at the creature before it. “What sort of thing are you?” The bird basically snarled and was most stiff with an air of superiority. “Come now, man, I have never seen such as you before.” He leaned forward as he pulled a pair of glasses from a pocket hidden beneath his feathers and sniffing quite rudely, I might say, looked the rag man up and down. “Can’t speak,” he actually shouted at the pile of cloth strips sitting in front of him. “Come on, now, speak up, eh, what,” he coughed, “I don’t have all day here.” He stood and quite angrily and aggressively brushed off his feathers while waiting for the odd creature in front of him to speak, but the ragman only blinked back.
========
“Well, of course you don’t,” the ragdoll man said evenly. Then, shock set in. “I spoke!”
“You spoke,” the bird said evenly looking at the ragdoll man who had brought both hands up to his mouth, his eyes growing quite wide. (I should add they were the color of the ocean, his eyes were. No, not just blue, but a blue with depth and with green swept in along with flecks of white scattered there and here like the frothy peaks that come with stress)
“Yes, you bloody well spoke. Am I to put you in for an award of some sort?” He paused and looked down at his feathers. “Just look at me,” he complained with a bit of a whine in his voice, “I am a mess and I was going to a meeting, a breakfast meeting, a very important breakfast meeting and then” he paused and sighed loudly, “you happened about. And this,” he waved his hands down most broadly over the front of his feathered chest, “is the bloody result. You did this.” A wing swept up with its tip pointing directly at ragdoll man.
“I did no such thing,” ragdoll man replied defensively. And again, he brought his hands to cover his mouth. Then began to search himself for the source of the sound.
“Here there, what’s the trouble mate,” the crow came closer. “You’re acting like someone not accustomed to having a voice.”
“I’m not,” replied the ragdoll man. “I mean….”
“Yes?”

The crow closed its wings close to its body and twisted its head to look at the ragdoll man. It took several steps one way and then back the other way with its head moving constantly to examine the odd creature standing there before him. “Got a name?” he asked, his beak close to the other’s face.
“Name? What’s a name?”
The crow stepped back. “There, see you spoke again. What do you mean by thinking you can’t speak?”
“Did I say that?”
“In as many words, yes.” The crow said dryly and stepped back a foot or two where he seemed to grow a bit in size. Then, after a long pause where neither moved nor spoke, he said, “My name is Randall. I suppose you can say that I am the leader of the Crows hereabouts.”
Silence.
“I said my name is….”
“Yes, yes, I heard you but—” he held up his arms made of a collection of brightly colored rags all somehow clinging together. “Who am I? Do you know who I am? Or,” he hesitate, “what I am.”
Randall laughed. “Well,” the crow began, “you can clearly see you are not much else than a collection of brightly colored rags. Yes, rags,” he said, noting the semi shocked look on the other’s face. “Yes, rags. Not much else to tell about.” He sat back on his tail feathers. “Do you have anything on you that can help with finding out about you?”
The ragdoll man thought for a moment and then said expectantly, his eyes growing bright, “Yes. Yes. I have this friend tucked in my pocket. Perhaps he might help.”
Randall stepped closer, his head twisting down and leaning towards the man. “A friend? What sort of friend could you have in your pocket?” He twisted his head more and bobbed it a bit. “Can I see it?”
“See what?”
“Your friend,” Randall’s voice took on a bit of a growl. “Your friend, you said you had a friend in your pocket. I should like to see your friend.”
“Well, he is small and, I think—asleep.”
“Asleep?” The crow stood back rising to his full height. “How do you know he is asleep?”
“Well, he isn’t moving.”
“Not moving? Is he dead?”
“Dead? What is that.”
“What is what?”
“You said my friend might be dead.” He leaned forward and tilted his head quietly asking, “What is this thing you say is——dead?”

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