Short Stories of the Unknown: The Ascent
“Forgive me for not being better at being me,” I would say to my body as the winds took hold of the ends of my wings. I didn’t relish it one bit. The wind stormed a ferocious volley, and my right wing felt so stiff and unwilling.
Chester, of course, was diving and cutting neat circles in the ageing day. I could almost hear his voice bellowing as he soared and swooped with a plum. After his small showcase he flattened his wings out and gently descended to my perch.
“You’re an ass!”
“Haha! Come on now! Come on! Have it — take it. It’s there for you?”
“I’m not feeling it. See Donald, what happened to him. He wasn’t feeling it that day, and we all pushed him to try. And what happened?”
“Well that had little to do with his wings, and more to do with his nut for a brain.”
“Nuts are big for us! But see. He went all up in this type of storm and flew right into the himself or whatever that thing was. And what did we do when we saw him crumpled on the floor?”
“We laughed.” Chester didn’t feel so good reliving that, at least I thought, but then he spied me with the corner of his beady eyes with a wry smile and started laughing.
“It isn’t funny, he was twitching on the ground, his little feet pointing up.”
Chester gave himself one last forceful laugh before turning his beak toward the sky and lifting himself up — up — up and above the raging wind storm. I contemplated again. If I was going to do this I didn’t need to think about it, I needed to just go for it and let my instinct take hold. But that was the problem. My instincts had all but left me. They had been corrupted by all this thought, and precaution. But that was necessary, I was hurt and needed to recover. That was what was really stopping me from tipping my beak up and ascending. The thought of hurting again.
Dammit! God dammit.
Tilting his head up, straining the muscles in his thigh and clearing every thought in his head — he made to spring up. His right wing dragged a bit but the rest of his body had picked momentum, flapping wildly trying to maintain the push. And like turning the wheels of an old mill, the creaks in his body straightened, the chains of caution broke away, and his spirit was free. Up — up — up over the storm and into the twilight.
Evans pressed the clicker of his Canon 3200 raising his head to see the subject go from being a bird to a little black dot in the sky.