Friday, April 21, 2006

Flight Feathers

“Mama, mama, where are we going today?”

The woman smiled down at her child, who looked up at her expectantly. His white hair matched her own, along with the smiling blue eyes. She took the tiny hand offered to her, and responded in an excited whisper.

“The overlook, Micheal. We're going to fly!”

He wrinkled his brow. “But mama, I don't know how to fly.”

His mother stooped down and picked up one of the fuzzy white feathers off the grass around their little home as they walked. “I'll teach you. We'll fly together.”

“Where will we go then?”

“I don't know, Micheal, where do you want to go?”

“The river!”

“Alright, we can go to the river.” She smiled again. They walked in a happy silence for a while, while she contemplated the feather in her hand. Innocence, in the form of a firstfeather. The downy fluff covered the wings until a child became old enough to fly, and then fell to make way for the new feathers. The flight feathers.

“Mama, how are we going to fly?”

“It's easy. You already know how.”

“But mama, I don't. I don't know how to fly.”

“Yes you do. You know it in here.” She pointed to her chest.

“In my shirt?”

“No, dear, in your heart. That's where flight comes from.”

The little boy giggled. “Mama, you talk funny sometimes.”

She laughed with him, just a little.

Soon, the overlook loomed before them, tall, rocky and steep, but easy to climb from the other side. To her, it seemed monstrous, waiting for blood, and a pang of doubt surged through her veins. Was Michal really ready to fly?

Micheal seemed to share the same doubts, though not as strongly as his mothers. “But what if my wings don't work right?”

“Then I'll catch you.” She spoke against her own doubts, her own fears, fighting to keep her voice calm against the rising urge to protect her child from danger, including this danger of falling.

“But what if your wings don't work right?”

She tried to laugh. “Micheal, my wings work fine.”

“Prove it,” he said defiantly. His diminutive form, boldly standing with his hands on his hips and his wings spread out behind him, the way that she acted sometimes, made his mother smile, despite her fears.

“Alright,” she said with the same defiance. “I will. Watch me.”

She jumped up to the top of the overlook, far higher than any human could, feeling the rush of air around her. Upon the top, she looked down to the ground far below, and for a moment she remembered her own first flight.

A calm spring day, much like this one, with her parents flying over her, and her looking down and wondering what it would be like to fall. The fear that she felt, the overwhelming urge to back away from the edge almost caused her to turn and run, but she couldn't. She had to fly. Simply jump from the edge and let her wings catch her. How long did she stand there, staring at the ground below, as her parents waited patiently for her to jump? It felt like an eternity.

One thing she learned from that first flight. Once you jump, there's no turning back. You have to fly.

A cool breeze brought her back to the present. She still had to fly, but now, she was not afraid. She calmly pulled the thin cloth from atop her wings, letting it drift to the ground far below, feeling the sun warming her, and watching the light refract from each golden flight feather. Almost unthinking, she leapt into the sky.

The wind lifted her immediately. She soared high above the overlook, getting higher and higher, her joy growing with every passing moment. Then she swooped low, almost touching the ground with her wingtip, as she shouted to her son. “See? My wings work! Flying is easy!”

Micheal needed no second urging. He ran to the top of the hill, eager to jump. But then he paused for a moment. He stared down, just as she remembered doing, wondering if he really could fly. Then, he jumped, and time seemed to stand still. She watched him tumble in the air for a second, and she started to swoop down to catch him, but then he spread his wings. The golden flight feathers flashed as the last of the downy firstfeathers blew away.

“Mama, look! I'm flying!”

“I knew you could do it, Micheal!”

They wheeled in the sky as Micheal quickly learned the basics of flight, flapping, turning, and finally landing. Once they were back atop the hill, she kneeled down to his eye level.

“You did great! Better than great!” She hugged him, and he hugged her, with a smile that seemed bigger than the sky. “Well,” she said proudly. “Do you want to go to the river now?”

“Mama,” he said, looking up at her with his smiling blue eyes reflecting the sky, “Can't we stay and fly a little longer?”

“Of course we can.” They leapt together from the overlook. She smiled as a thought occurred to her. Once you have flight feathers, you can't turn back. And in all honesty, she wouldn't want it any other way.

A/N: Yes, this is set in the same world as my other stories; no, it's not in the same plot line. It might come up later, but it's not technically in the series. Yet.


Dana said...

That's so cool! I like the idea of being a kid celestia.

Ivy said...

One of your best, I think. I loved the mother's perspective, and it's nice to know that even Michael was a kid once. I like the idea that a being like a Celestia, that people consider so abnormal, has childhood memories (and fears) like everyone else.
I'd also like to know what exactly happened to his mother. You wrote her amazingly well, and I've learned to love her just from this one story. I'd like to see her more.

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