by Anton Jones
I have been trying to fly for hours. The first try was a failure, but this time, I can’t, I just can’t fail this time. They depend on me. Everyone. Everything depends on me.
I flap my wings once, twice, and then glide down towards the vast expanse of still water. The water is so clear, I can see fish swimming hundreds of feet below me. At least they don’t have to depend on me. I flap again several times and propel myself back into the air for a better vantage point. I lose one of my white feathers on the way up; the winds carries it back down until it rests gently, bobbing on the swishing landscape.
At this height, my heart flutters with my wings as I spot some green. A gnarled tree, with a twisted trunk and green leaves is perched on a tiny rocky outcrop that extends downwards into the water until my sight fails me. The tree looks like it barely survived, just like us. My husband and I were having doubts that we would survive, but this changes everything. We will survive and my eggs will hatch.
I glide in and rear up, stopping with my rapidly beating wings to land on a branch of the tree that has leaves and small green fruit. I grip the branch with my beak and claw and twist sharply. The branch releases itself from the tree. Thank you.
I fly back into the air, slightly heavier than before and hurry back towards the setting sun. After all the destruction, all the death, I’m relieved to know that my species will live on.
I can see it again, the prison within which I had spent so long, not seeing the sun for what felt like eternity. But I can feel the suns warmth now and feels so good to once again ride the currents of the wind. I fly towards the great structure made of fallen trees, the only visible object on the surface of the water. I land back down on the railing and an excited man runs up to me and takes the branch from my beak, jumping and holding it up in the sun’s light. I jump and yell in protest. He can’t just take that. It’s for my family, the only thing we have left.
The excited man calms down and finally gives me back the olive branch. I nod at the crazy man for giving back what he stole. He opens the door to let me back inside and I am rattled by a cacophony of noises and smells. It’s my husband and my eggs, locked in this prison, hoping one day to finally claim the skies yet again.