Why the Birds Fly

Why the Birds Fly

A Story by Exa Lectric

Why the Birds Fly

How do the birds fly? Ignore the science, and the genetics, and the evolution. Why do the birds fly?

I often find myself asking this as I look up into the night sky. If I were a bird, I would fly across the world, and find the place with Golden Arches and fountains, fresh water, dancing, flowers, happy families, music, and all the Beautiful things to see. Except, I'm not a bird. And I cannot fly.
I wish I could. But prisoners don't fly away.

"Sister, I'm hungry. Have we anything to eat?"
I looked down at my lap and began to cry, shaking my head.
"It's okay Sister, don't cry. I'll be okay. We can find food tomorrow, can't we? Then it will all be okay again."
"You are such a dreamer." I reply, walking out of the hut. Father had gone hunting four days ago. He expected to be gone only two days. We ate the last of the food at lunch-time. I am so worried, he was never gone longer than he expected. I want to look for him,but I can't leave my sister alone. She is two young, barely ten years on this earth.
Tomorrow we will have to walk to the Old Woman's house. She will be able to feed my sister. Hopefully, Father will return tomorrow or the next day.

We arrived at the Old Woman's home and she let us in.
"I've been expecting you." She said as she prepared bowls of soup for my sister and me. She always knew when we would come over before we even left. She would always prepare a meal for us, ready the second we entered her tent.
I smile as she sits the bowl in front of me. "Thank you;" I bow my head and begin to eat.

After we eat, Sister takes a nap, tired from the mile's walk. I stay up to speak to the Old Woman.
"I have concern over Father." I say to her.
"I know you do. You must follow your soul-string; it winds the path to the Heavens." I nod, making my decision to go in search of Father. "That is a wise choice my Granddaughter." She has always been able to read my heart.
"Will you take care of my sister?"
"Of course, now, let me gather some items for your journey. I sense it will be a great hardship for you."

We packed, and I told my sister of the journey. She didn't want me to go, but I insisted. I headed out in the direction Father went, and walked for two days.

Now I rest under a grove of trees, listening to the birds above. My eyelids grow heavy, and I doze off for a short nap.
When I open them, I hear horses hooves, clamoring across the hardened earth, getting louder. I can see a cloud of dust barely I front of the horizon, getting nearer.

I pick up my satchel and climb the tree I was leaning on. Carefully tucking into its branches, hidden from sight, I wait. I am afraid to breathe more than a shallow whisper, in case they hear me. On the branch to my left is a birds nest, with four tiny eggs nestled inside.

When the horses arrive at the oasis, the men dismount and let the horses drink. They aren't very loud, probably weary from travel. Some wash in the water, others sit to eat, and a few stand watch. One decides my tree is a good spot to rest, and leans on its trunk to sleep. Soon they all settle down and camp at the oasis for the night. The finish their meals and open their sleeping rolls. The guards switch.

When the moon is at its peak, as far from earth as its invisible leash allows, a bird returns to the nest next to me. I stay silent, and don't move a muscle. The bird settles onto her eggs, and then turns to see me. Suddenly the bird starts screeching as loud as she can, her nest has been breeched, her children are not safe. She is calling for the nearby birds to help her fight the intruder; me.

Other birds come to her aid, and I am pecked at. Below I can see the men all rising, awakened by the noise. When I think it can't be any worse, the man resting on my tree looks up. His eyes lock onto mine and grow wide. I'm sure he can see the terror in my own eyes.

The other men come to him, and he points up at me. Then it is a blur, as the tree is shaken, sticks are poked, and I finally fall free from the tree. I am bound and two men stand guard around me, arrows pointed and ready. No one speaks to me. I am a prisoner.


I look to the moon, at its peak, as far from earth as its invisible leash will allow, and a tear escapes from my eye. I miss my sister. I miss Father. I miss the Old Woman. I miss roaming the prairie with my sister and Father.
The Old Woman was right, this is a hard journey for me. But I am not afraid, I will make it home. The Old Woman picks her words wisely. It will be a hard journey, meaning I will be home again in the end.

© 2013 Exa Lectric


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Added on January 21, 2013
Last Updated on January 21, 2013