The hawk descended and hovered, just outside the parked car. The top side of the hawk was, as you would expect, normal to phenotype; a beatific muted mottle of browns with hints of ruddy edges as its feathers adjusted with the ease of long practice to the thermal it balanced upon. Then, under the wing and for the hawk’s body, a bowl-shaped foam of neural networked fluffed white and grays, a scalloping of feather approximations, rippling with zephyrs and eddies that made no sense in any context, much less this one. The very presence and affect of the hawk is meant to stymie, but the subtle implication once the initial astonishment fades is clear, the hawk is a tuned projection from something, someplace else.
Ah, I am dreaming.
It is still just a hawk, though, even if it is also more.
I look it in the eyes with my mind’s eyes, since I am asleep. It comes over to the window and I roll it down. It cannot find purchase to perch, so I extend my fist for it. The talons go right through my hand, but there is no pain. I give a wing and the top of its head a scratch and get out of the car. It perches on my head, flapping its wings, agitated, but not at me.
I awaken, and the hand I recently hurt, where the hawk became my fist, is cramped into itself.
I never get the message; maybe one day I will.