A little bird was singing a song when Melinda came to the tree. It said, "Good morning, can you feel the sunshine?"
Melinda wasn't sure if the bird was really a bird.
"Are you a bird?" she says.
"No, merely a figment of your imagination."
She understood. She stands up and walks back down the hill, where the alien spaceship is waiting.
"So is it a bird?" the blue alien says. He scratches his chin, thinking.
"No, merely a figment of my imagination."
"But if it is," the alien said, "how can I see it too?"
He thinks, What am I doing here? I must return home so I can finish my work. I am wasting time here. I must leave. Now. Do something.
He didn't know what to do.
Melinda looked up at his face.
"Who are you?" she says.
"Yes. Are you a bird?"
"Then you must be a figment of my imagination. You don't exist."
And just like that, he didn't.
Melinda turned away and walked back up the hill to where the little bird was singing a song.
"I like your song," she says. "It makes me feel happy."
"Really?" the bird says. "I don't exist. Nor do you."
Copyright © 2002 by Chris Spoone and Bewildering Stories.