Blackbird Has Spoken: Part 6

Updated on November 6, 2019
lambservant profile image

Lori has been writing fiction since she first caught the writing bug at age nine.


From Blackbird Has Spoken: Part 5

It was a terrible wonderful day for Ivy. The mystery behind the sound of a gunshot in her dreams is revealed and it's a devastating story.

Cloe and Ivy have an intimate moment in their friendship when they discover a common thread in their lives - grandmothers and the song of the blackbird.


Ivy turned randomly to a picture of a bird in a tree. She grabbed a black crayon and quickly lost herself in coloring the bird. “Morning has broken, like the first morning,” she sang to herself. “Like the first morning. Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.”

“Praise for the singing,” Cloe joined in.

“Praise for the morning. Praise for them springing fresh from the world,” they finished.

Ivy set her crayon down and looked at her coloring friend. “How do you know that song?” she asked.

“Grammie used to sing it to me.”

Tears gathered in Ivy’s eyes. She realized now why there was an instant connection between them. She felt like Cloe was a part of her. Cloe tenderly swiped a tear off of her face. “Why the tears, Ivy?”

"My Nana sang that to me whenever I was scared or sad or sick. It was our song for as long as I can remember.”

Their eyes lingered with an unspeakable knowing, a oneness of hurt and love.


Impending doom

The sun burst over the city horizon, casting a pink and amber glow through Ivy's window, and piercing her eyelids. She'd forgotten to draw the curtains last night, darn it. She checked the clock - five forty two. She dragged herself out of bed, glanced at the breathtaking sunrise unappreciatively, closed the curtains tight, and hopped back into bed. A fierce sense of foreboding woke her every few minutes. Finally she got up and showered and dressed, but the anxiety grew. 'Nothing is wrong, Ivy,' she chided herself. 'Why do you feel like the world is going to fall out from under you?' There was a knock on her door. She opened the door to nurse Helen carrying the med tray.

"Are you okay, Ivy? You seem rather anxious."

"Yes, I am. I have this sense of impending doom. I'm going out of my skin. You have something for me there?"

"Yes, of course."

Ivy took the medication and looked at Helen helplessly.

"Why don't we do the breathing technique we taught you yesterday."

Helen guided her through the breathing exercise, to no avail. Helen said morning goals would start in fifteen minutes.

While Ivy waited, she suddenly felt frightened about what it would be like to go home. 'How weird is it that I'm afraid to leave a psych ward?' she thought. She grabbed her sweater and set out to the morning group.

When she sat down, Cloe came in and sat next to her.

"Hey," said Cloe.

"Well, you look bright eyed and bushy tailed," Ivy said, offended.

"Gee, sorry. No offense, but you You okay?"

"No, but who cares."

"I do."


At breakfast Ivy picked at her food. They made her drink decaf, which she hated and complained to Cloe.

"I can never taste the difference," said Cloe.

"Well, bully for you!"

Garret came by their table. "I've got good news for you two."

"We could use some good news," said Cloe.

"Dr. Wong has given you two off unit privileges. You can go downstairs accompanied by a staff member. Today a group walk is planned. Be good to get some fresh air, don't you think?"

Ivy didn't seem to care.

"Ivy, you okay? Can I help?" Cloe asked.

"No, I don't need help. I'm just in a bad mood." Ivy stormed off to her room leaving Cloe puzzled and hurt.

Talking through fear

Ivy sat down in the ugly green molded chair in front of Dr. Wong.

"Ivy, how are you today?" said Dr. Wong.

"I have this intense feeling of fear. It's making me crazy. The medication isn't working. I can't shake this."

"Hmm. Ivy, you have worries? Something that weighing on you?"

"One thing comes to mind. It's crazy, but I'm uncomfortable about the thought of going home. It feels unsafe. I'll be all alone. But there's more to this anxiety today. I don't know what."

"Uh huh. Ivy, that not unusual. Most people here feel that way. We work to prepare you here. Groups, therapy, medications, give you tools. Very important you listen and apply tools."

"What tool do I use to shake this yucky, scary feeling in my gut? I can hardly stand it."

"Sometime that kind of anxiety might be fear of loss, or something bad is going to happen to someone you love. Does that sound like a true ring?"


"Does it sound like a true ring?"

"A true ring? I'm not following," Ivy replied, clueless.

"Oh, Wong mixed up. A true ring. Does what I say apply to you?"

"Oh, you mean does it ring true?"

Wong laughed out loud. "Yes. I have secret for you, Ivy."

"Oh, I love secrets."

Wong lowered his voice. "Don't tell anyone, Ivy, but I use Urban Dictionary all the time. I say things wrong, people get confused. Sometime they shocked. Staff here say, 'Dr. Wong, that not how you say it,' or 'You can't say that, it mean this bad thing.' Sometime people say things I don't understand. Sometimes I think it mean something different. I get so embarrassed. Staff always tease me."

Ivy's anxieties fled as she fell into giggles.

"Oh, Dr. Wong, do you realize you are a comedic genius?"

"Hmm, thank you. Back to question, does fear of loss or bad thing happening to loved one ring true?"

Ivy found it hard to turn on a dime, from laughter to pain. She sat quietly to compose herself. Dr. Wong waited with patient understanding.

"I guess it does, yes."

"Ivy, let's talk about your fears."

For the next twenty minutes Dr. Wong and Ivy explored these things together. She was overwhelmed that this doctor cared so deeply. He was a committed and trustworthy professional and friend. As she opened the door to leave, she felt a longing to tell him she loved him. Words failed her, so she just said thank you and left.


Ivy and Cloe ate lunch in near silence. In her potent anxiety, Ivy was short and curt with Cloe. Cloe decided to chat with Jeb, letting Ivy deal with whatever it was she was dealing with, alone.

As lunch was wrapping up, a perky Tiffany Mayhew, the recreational therapist for the day, announced the walk would start in fifteen minutes. Cloe tried to inspire delight into Ivy. Ivy didn't bite. "Read my lips, Cloe, I'm not in the mood."

Cloe had had enough. "Listen, Ivy, I'm sorry you're having a bad day, but I'm done with your rudeness. Pick on someone else." Cloe turned and joined the others who would be going.

Ivy stormed off to her room. Sitting on her bed she thought what gall Cloe had talking to her like that. Cloe ought to know what it's like to have anxiety. She should show some respect and give Ivy her space. She became so caught up into a tumultuous cycle of rage and fear, she felt she would die from it's power. So she did her breathing, prayed for peace, and joined the group for the walk.

A Walk in the park

Ivy found Cloe and took her aside. With tears, she apologized and asked for forgiveness. Cloe offered a reserved "I forgive you," then they joined the group.

It was strange to Ivy to be walking out the locked double doors that had housed her pain and fears the last two weeks; where the only two people left in the world that loved her, and the only two that she had left to love, were by her side every day. She felt vulnerable, and wanted to flee back to her eleventh floor home.

The elevator was filled with the chatter of broken friends, about to test the waters of freedom. It would be good to be reminded that the world had been carrying on, and would still be turning whenever they returned for good. Finally they stepped outdoors. Ivy inhaled deeply, closed her eyes, and lifted her face to the sun. She felt God's welcome.

They walked a few blocks, listening to birds, watching traffic and people on the street. They saw a woman rummage through her purse that rested on the hood of her car, cursing her own idiocy for locking her keys in the car. Only a few minutes ago, Ivy was afraid to venture out the double locked doors, and now she craved to be in this normal woman's shoes. 'Did the woman appreciate such an insignificant problem?'

Soon they entered a small park. A glorious breeze whispered through the trees. Their movement seemed to be a waving welcome. Tiffany encouraged everyone to enjoy, but not to stray outside a certain area. No one was to be out of sight of Tiffany. "We'll head back at 2:30," she said.

The girls sat on a bench and watched two little girls being pushed by their Mommy on the swings. Mommy's timing and cadence were flawless.

"My grammy used to push me so high, my mom was afraid I would sail off the swing and break my neck," Cloe said. "She'd sing a silly song she made up while pushing me."

"Sing it for me," said Ivy.

Cloe sang the song.

"Swing, sweet Cloe, high in the sky,

sing to the birds for wings to fly.

Soar high up to the sun,

clear to outer space;

but don't let your skirt

fly back into your face.

The friends laughed.

"I love your grammy," Ivy said. "Cloe, I want to ask you a question?"

"Ask away."

"Well, you are so cheerful most of the time. I'm just wondering what brings you to the hospital so often?"

"The world doesn't feel safe. And, like you, I've tried to end it all...more than once. And sometimes I do things I don't remember doing. One time I found myself a hundred miles away and didn't remember how I got there. I do other crazy stuff."

"I'm really sorry, Cloe." She read Cloe's face that she didn't want to talk about it any further. "Are you going home soon?"

"The very thought always sends me into a panic. I can't live with the constant fear, horrible memories, and the lapses in time. I hate the humiliation of wigging out. That's why I've tried to, you know, end it."

Ivy swallowed hard. "Cloe, let's pinky swear we'll stay alive. If we stick together, we'll be able to love and support one another."

Cloe didn't respond. Ivy looked over at her friend. Cloe's head was down and tears were starting to trickle down her face. Ivy felt sick at heart.

The chase

Ivy's sadness turned to anger all of a sudden. She stopped Cloe and looked into her face.

"Cloe," she said, "pinky swear you won't do it."

Cloe turned away.

"Cloe," Ivy demanded. "Pinky swear. You can't do it. I won't let you. Now swear."

Cloe grew dark and shoved Ivy hard. "Who do you think you are, telling me what to do?"

Ivy was startled but came back. "I'm telling you what not to do, Cloe. Don't you dare leave me alone. I swear if you do I'll kill you."

Cloe was too disturbed to laugh. "You idiot. Do you realize what you just said?"

Ivy wasn't amused either. "I don't care. I'll never forgive you if you..."

"Listen, back off! Whatever I do or don't do with my life is none of your business. Now get away from me." Cloe shoved her again and stormed off.

"Cloe, come back here. Don't you walk away from me."

Cloe began to run. Ivy chased her through the park. Tiffany called after them, but they didn't hear. Cloe dashed through some shrubs that brought her into the parking lot of a medical building and ran off as if driven by the devil. Ivy flew through the shrubs and fell forward onto the pavement, skinning knees and elbows. She staggered up and kept running. She could see the pink of Cloe's hair round a corner and out of sight.

"Cloe, stop, you spoiled little brat."

Cloe ran another block and ducked into a business complex. Ivy, close behind, saw a flash of her pink hair again and followed into the building after her. Ivy saw that the elevator was going up. She pushed the buttons frantically. Then she heard a commotion and turned to see a middle aged woman on a staircase, about to fall. The woman righted herself after cursing the person who nearly knocked her over. Ivy flew past the woman up the stairs.

"Cloe, stop it. Quit acting like this." She could hear Cloe stomping up the stairs. It sounded like she was tired and slowing, but she kept going. Ivy found herself on a landing and could see a door shutting down the corridor. She plowed through the door finding herself in an office with a startled, glamorous business woman and a handsome, impeccably dressed executive, obviously in the throes of flirting.

"Where's Cloe?" she demanded.

"We don't know anyone named Cloe," said the woman, annoyed.

"She just came through this door. She has blonde and pink hair. Where is she?" Ivy was heaving and doubled over.

"Look, lady," said the man, clearly piqued for the interruption. "We don't know a Cloe and no one but me just came through that door."

"Oh, God. My friend might be trying to kill herself. I've got to find her."

"I'll call security," said the woman.

Ivy headed for the door.

"I'll help you," said the man, shrugging off his jacket. When they got into the corridor he took charge. "What's your name?"

"Ivy. I don't have time for chit chat."

"I'm Trenton, Ivy. I know this building. When you get to the end of the hall, go through the double doors and you'll find a stairway. I'll meet you up there, if I don't see Cloe."

Ivy nodded, too winded and frantic and to speak. She pushed through the doors and began the steep climb. She stopped a few stairs up and held her burning chest. Her legs felt like gelatin. She could not seem to catch her breath. She had a good ten years on Cloe, clearly not as fit. After a moment she began her staggering climb up the stairs. Her legs felt heavy as boulders. She stopped again, doubling over.

"Cloe, Cloe, you crazy..." She forced herself to continue. Suddenly she saw Trenton come out a door and run past her. "She's been spotted by the..." His voice trailed off as he grew farther away.

Ivy began to sob and try to run at the same time. Her calves were searing. After an eternity, she found herself at the top of the staircase. She went through a door there and found herself on the roof. The trepidation and horror of what she might find nearly knocked her to the floor. She ran around frantically on the roof but saw nothing. Where was Trenton? Where was Cloe? Oh God, I can't do this.

© 2016 Lori Colbo. All rights reserved.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        3 years ago

        What happened to Cloe? Now you've got me wondering!

        Really well done.


      • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

        Lori Colbo 

        3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

        Thank you Siddharth.

      • profile image

        Siddharth Kapoor 

        3 years ago

        Hi Lori - Interesting read. Great work here.

      • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

        Lori Colbo 

        3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

        Takes one to know one, bill, Mr cliff hanger

      • lifegate profile image

        William Kovacic 

        3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

        Oh, okay. I see how you are! You take us all through this, and now I have to wait to find out what happened. Excellent job, Lori! I'm really enjoying this one.

      • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

        Lori Colbo 

        3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

        Dora, who are normal people, eh?

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Lori, "normal" people can relate to different parts of Ivy's experience. You deal with this topic in a way that lets the reader in with sensitivity and without judgment. Good job!

      • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

        Lori Colbo 

        3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

        Eric, I get caught up as I write it. Thanks for your faithful encouragement.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        This is really well done. I got all sympathetically anxious.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)