By Sabrina Castiglione
I’d thought I wouldn’t remember the way back, but aloft I could feel it, the quiet currents whirling this way and that, homing in on the one small mark in the distance. Beckoning.
It had never been so difficult before the…. Before. Whether it was the smarting, mending wing, the ache of muscles protesting at long disuse, or the memory of what once was, I cannot say. Perhaps it is just because I’d never flown North this late… or is it ‘this early’ now? Time and tide have twisted over the span. Today blurred into yesterday and all the days before that, and tomorrow; tomorrow stopped having meaning altogether.
I wouldn’t have left. Not of my own volition. The little ones took care of me. Their chirping was alien, strange, but sweet, not like the song of the big ones with their sharp branches, whistling through the air, punching through wings and catching feet. I followed the big ones once. Saw them take a brother from the ground, pluck the brilliant plumage until only puckered white skin showed. I watched them make the bright light that hurt my eyes with the heat of high summer. Watched them make the white flesh turn brown, brown as the soil below, and rip him to pieces, all the while their harsh chanting infesting the air. I never followed again.
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