“Have you decided?”
“I think so,” I said. It wasn’t a difficult decision—I had always wanted to fly. The great rush of the wind against my skin, in the embrace of the peaceful amber skies, had always been a dream.
“Well, no matter what you choose, know that I’ll support you… fully,” she said.
“I know,” I replied. I had never once disappointed her. In fact, I often believed I made her proud. My only fear then was making the wrong decision—despite it being an easy one. Alas, one could never be certain if easy was good, nor if hard was any nobler than easy.
“Goodnight then,” she said with a gentle smile.
As she left my wooden tent, I pushed myself seated. Turning to the window above my bed, I heaved a sigh. There were five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes left—the remaining time to reach a decision. Perhaps, I should stick with my first choice—to spread my wings and escape the never-ending battles and the haunting smell of blood that reigned over my reality. If I could close my eyes and wish it all away—taking to the sky with my glorious snowy-feathered wings—wasn’t that the hope of every being in a hopeless world?
With the stars twinkling in the distance as the cloudless night presented the full moon, I wondered why—when my brother made his choice, it was to run fast and furious across the golden sand dunes. And when my sister made hers, it was to brace the wrathful waves of mighty storms. Yet, just when I thought they could flee from the raging turmoil that plagued our land, they stayed.
Still, five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes later, I chose to fly.
“Have you decided?” I asked.
“I think so,” he said. It wasn’t a difficult decision—I always knew he wanted to fly, too.
“Good. You have my support, you know that, right?” I replied.
“Yes. But can I ask you something?” he said with a frown. Therein lay the same hesitation in his mien. The same hesitation that was once mine—if my choice was selfish and cowardly.
“It’s alright if you want to run,” I stated. “Everyone secretly wants to. I did, too.”
“Then why did you stay?”
I chuckled. Indeed, why did I? The night after I received my gift—to own the body of a magnificent bird of prey—I could have bid farewell. I could have left everything behind to start anew. I could choose the adventures I wished to embark on—ones that weren’t marked by death and destruction. But just as the battle horns blew at the arrival of yet another challenger, seeking the very ancient art that granted me my gift, I rose from my bed ready to protect what was mine.
“The same reason you might,” I told him.
“I don’t understand,” he said. Alas, neither did I in his state. “But it’s not wrong if I leave, right?” he prompted.
“No one is stopping you,” I replied with a smile. “And no one will judge you either. The gift is yours to use, however you wish to use it.”
He nodded. He had made up his mind—he was going to fly. And yet, I knew, he would stay. Just like every single one before him, the allure of the great beyond could never snatch us away from home—more than the magic we fought for was the family that fought alongside us.
At the next blow of the battle horns, we would be the vigilant eyes in the sky. Our brothers would rumble the earth with their spirited roars. Our sisters would wield the elements of the sea with righteous anger. This… had been the ways of our ancestors—to unleash the primeval beast within, to defeat the teeth-baring demons that were hungry for our souls, and to grasp onto hope with our fragile hearts… even when there seemed to be none.
“Goodnight then,” I said.
Five days, three hours, and sixteen minutes later, he chose to fly. And as quickly as an enemy arose, he was by my side—not on a quest to resign from life but to be bold, passionate, and determined… to fight for it.
Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)