Skye

Fiction By Julie // 3/5/2009

Go back.
The words rocketed through my wings like poison. I plunged earthward, unable to react.
Go back.
Rage burned my spine, leaving behind a sick numbness. I forced my wings into the rippling air to slow my fall. As the ground grew closer, I spied a narrow perch near the crown of a fir. I pulled my wings in, extending my long, thin toes and curling them around the branch.
Go back.
Images of the past months—of life—burned inside. The ever-changing sky—platters of steaming cookies—Hannah’s wrinkled, compassionate face—
I can’t, I protested. I can’t—
Lark, I have to leave. But I’ll be back
. My own words blew against my protests. I promise. See the blue?''
“See the blue,” Lark choked out.

Wren screaming in the Testing Room—Finch shivering in the hall— Kestrel and Hannah dying outside the Institute—
“See the blue?” I murmured aloud.
Go back.
A scruffy mechanic emerged from a nearby auto shop and peered up into the woven branches. Could he see me, a deeper patch of shadows against the trunk?
I can’t. Tears speckled my cheeks. I can’t—not alone—
The man scratched his head and turned back to his work, whistling a merry tune.
But you aren’t alone. I am always with you, Skye.
My jaw tightened. “I’ll go,” I sprang into the air, wings unfurling like a banner of chestnut and ebony. “I’ll go!” I shouted eagerly.

It was easier to break into the Institute then it had been to escape from it. Every molecule of my body protested as I slipped into the bare silence of the Nesting Room. I glanced up at the once-distant ceiling.
I could reach it in five flaps now.
And three brought me to the edge of our Nest. It rose from the floor like a concrete mushroom with an inverted cap. I perched on the edge cautiously, counting heads. Lark, Cardinal, Wren, Swallow…Sparrow? Where is Sparrow? …there she is, curled under Lark’s wing.I slid inside, careful not to step on anyone. “Wake up, Lark,” I whispered, rubbing her shoulders.
Her green eyes pealed open. “Who—“
“It’s me, Skye. Remember? I said I’d come back for you.”
Lark scowled in concentration. “Skye…”
“See the blue,” I prompted.
See the blue? Kestrel’s special phrase.
When we were sick: See the blue?
When they clipped our wings: See the blue?
When she came back sobbing after Hawk had--- See the blue?
Lark’s eyes widened in surprise. “You left,” Her broken speech crackled like autumn leaves. “You dead…like Kes-Kes..”
“Kestrel,” I answered softly. “No, I’m back. And we’re getting out of her.” I nodded towards the boys’ nest. “All of us.”

My eyelids crawled open even though I never closed them.
The nest was empty.
The Testing Room! I scrambled to the edge and flew down, landing hard on the concrete floor. My feet took over, racing down the hateful hallway. Moans from behind the locked doors confirmed my fear—the solitary cells were only used on Testing days. I pounded on the steel door at the far end, ignoring the large letters: Authorized personnel only. Animal Testing Facilities.
“I don’t believe it!” The smooth voice made my skin crawl. One of THEM.
A gloved hand grabbed my wrist, checking the numbers tattooed there. “F02. Our little pigeon came home after all.”
“This isn’t my home,” I retorted, staring at the gray-cloth mask that covered the lower half of the man’s face.
He glared at me. “Maybe they’ll authorize termination. You always were troublesome, F02.” He cackled with anticipation. “Should be more interesting than F01 and that old hag. We had to dispatch them quickly.”
Rage tinted with sorrow flooded my body, and I raised my fist.
Not that way, daughter.
I protested. Lord, you know what they’ve done—what they’re doing—
Rescue Lark. Vengeance is mine.
“Let Lark go,” I demanded.
“Lark?” The mask sucked in against his cheeks. “That’s almost funny, F02.”
Skye, I protested. “Let me in.”
”Why? Are you going to take its place?”
I needed to be in there.
He punched the intercom button. “Hold off on F03. F02 wants in on the fun.”
The reply was even. “Send it in.”

I strolled calmly into the room, smiling encouragingly at Lark. I remained motionless as they hooked sensors to my body.
“What…you…here?” Lark asked.
“Silence.” The man slapped her cheek.
I reached out my hand, but the chains weren’t long enough to reach.
“Put the little one in the maze.”

I closed my eyes as the Masks shoved Lark into the maze. Three quick notes sounded over the loudspeaker.
My heart raced as I pictured Lark stumbling through the maze, electric wires shocking her at every wrong turn. The steady beeping of my monitors echoed the words in my mind. Let. Her. Go. Let. Her. Go.
A buzzer blared through my thoughts. I stared at the door, waiting for Lark to stumble out. Whispers crackled over the speakers.
“…Boring…cat…”
“…valuable specimens.”
“but now…breeding program…F02…” The words were like ice water to my mind.
“put…in.”
A Mask emerged from a door on the far side of the room and opened the maze door. But instead of leading Lark over to the wall, he roughly shoved her back into the starting room.
“Ready,” he called.
“Wait.” The voice had a sadistic undertone. “Let the other watch.”

The Mask grabbed my wrists and dragged me into the room with him. My eyes flickered about, noticing the electronic monitors and medical equipment. He shoved me into a chair, strapping me down with leather buckles. “Look there,” he commanded.
The screen showed Lark standing in the starting box, waiting. The horn sounded, and she took off. Barely five seconds latter, she reached a fork in the path. Her eyes darted back and forth—right? left? —then she veered right.
“Right is wrong,” the Mask rubbed his hands together.
Lark staggered back into view, a violet welt covering her ankle. As she ran down the hall, the view switched to another camera in front of a large crate.
“Too slow. Release the cat.”
A golden figure, sleek and muscular, leapt from the cage, shaking his head in anger. His tongue darted out like a nervous chipmunk, licking the air. Then he dashed away, the camera following.
The Mask pointed to an electronic outline with two dots—one yellow, one red. “This beast—“ he pointed to the yellow dot. “Should meet your ‘Lark,’”—the red dot—“in, say…thirty seconds.”
“No!” I screamed, tearing loose from the leather straps. Before they could react, I was banging on the maze door.
“Test in progress, do you wish to disrupt?” The computer droned.
“Yes, yes!” I shrieked.
The door slid open. I sprinted down the paths, ignoring the flashes of electric shocks. The beast’s roars spurred me on toward Lark’s ragged gasps. There--Lark stumbled down the hallway, eyes wide, gasping.
“Skye,” She choked, glancing down the hallway. “Li—“
“Run—“ I shouted.
“Can’t—hurts—“
I knelt on the maze floor, heedless of the painful volts. “Get on my back.” Lark wrapped her arms around my neck, burying her face in my feathers.
Which way? Left or right? I was certain it was left—but there was no opening.
“Too easy, F02?” the voice sneered. “Try this.”
I gaped as all other exits closed. One panel slid open, and at the other end was the lion. His mane rippled like gold in the pale light of the maze as he charged.
I will protect you.
I slowly knelt, letting Lark down on the floor. My wings unfurled, brushing each side of the maze.
“Skye—“ Lark glanced at the beast. “We die?”
“No,” I answered. I remembered Hannah’s story of Daniel in the lion’s den. “God, please send your angels to shut this lion’s mouth.”
The lion cocked its shining head, puzzled by my fluttering wings.
I inhaled deeply.
The lion charged—and slid to the floor, as if barred by a glass wall.
A strange sound caused me to look over my shoulder. One of the walls had slid away, revealing the EXIT sign.

Lark clung to me as we stepped into the Testing Room. “What happened?” she whispered.
“God happened,” I bent over and snapped off her wires. “Let’s go home.”
“Not so fast.” The Mask leaned over us. “Do it again.”
“What?” I spat.
“It’s amazing…paranormal activities in avian-human crossbreeds...”
I shook my head. “We’re leaving.”
He stared in shock, eyes wide with surprise. And suddenly, he slumped to the ground.
Thank you, Lord.
I took Lark’s hand as we walked into the hall. I went to the keypads by each door and confidently punched in codes, knowing they were correct.
Hawk stared at me when the door opened. “Skye?”
“I’ll explain later,” I answered. “We’re leaving.”
“But—“ he pointed to the youngest ones, Wren, Finch, Swallow and Sparrow. “Their wings—so small.”

I led them to the front door. When it opened, everyone gasped.
“So big,”
“What is it?”
Lark spoke up. “It’s blue.” she said confidently.
“Yes,” I confirmed. I gazed over the land, noticing a great disturbance in the distant treetops. “Everyone, hold hands.” Soon we stood in a ragged line. “Extend your wings.”
Then the wind was upon us. It scooped us up like gentle hands plucking a leaf off the ground. A river of air carried us along. I didn’t look back at the Institute.
Everyone was laughing, even the youngest children. I wasn’t sure where we were going, but we were together. And we weren’t alone.
“See the blue,” I whispered. “See the blue.”

Comments

I absolutly love this %%%%%%%

I
absolutly
love
this
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
I personally predict that the world will come crashing to a halt if you don't forward this to 50 Gazillion people by noon tomorow!!
-me (in parody of a chain e-mail)

Keri | Sat, 03/07/2009

Wow.

Wow.
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Sat, 03/07/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Reply

I had a dream that led to this story.

"[Fairy tale] does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat...giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy;"

Julie | Sat, 03/07/2009

Formerly Kestrel

This is so well written,

This is so well written, but....don't think I'm weird....I have one itsy-bitsy question. Are the characters birds or are they like half-bird-half-person things? That is the only thing I had questions about:)
------------------------------------------------
"It's King Edmund, actually. Just King though. Peter's the High King. I know, it's confusing."--Edmund Pevensie

Ariel | Sat, 03/07/2009

*****************************************
"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

Story & Dream

First off, I love your quote.
They're half-birds, half-humans--homo avius, if you want Latin. I tried to mention arms and legs near the beginning.

And here's the dream that led to it.

I was in a store/musuem with low rolls of carpet and a miniture hourse that I really wanted to take a picture of. While I looked at it, I got lost and ended it up in a huge storage room with sheets, comforters, and other suspisciously obtained linens. There were children, and Dad and I tried to guide them out.
When we got outside, I took off flying on the wind. I had no 'wings,' but I could control my flight. Once or twice I got a small shock from the electric wires. When I flew past an autoshop, someone saw me, so I flew straight up near a tree, but the man climbed up after me. I flew off, returning to a large empty room with concrete walls.
It was the 'lab,' somewhere I'd escaped before. There were two hollow recesses in the right wall, one higher than the other, but no larger than a bathtub. Inside were packed several kids, victims of the experiments. I considered challenging a scientist to a race for their freedom, but I wasn't confident enough to risk it. A little boy nearly fell, and I set him on the ground.
While I hovered near the recesses, a scientist stuck a [electronic] bug on my back. I asked a little girl where it was, and she said it would eventually work itself out of my digestive system. But I wanted a faster way, so she gave me laxative gum. I took half the stick, then the rest. I woke up later in the empty concrete bowl.
"Where are they?"
Dressed in little more than rags, seperated by gender, they marched across the bare floor of another concrete room. There were other boys too, 10-14 instead of the preschoolers I'd seen before. I felt the roughness of my wings under my fingers.
"Where are you going? I want to help!"
They vanished into elevators in groups of two. "I demand to see what you're doing to them."
"Are you sure?"
Christ had not turned his back on worse sights. I would see.
A wall of glass bricks seperated me from the lab room. I could not see through it, but words--a summery of Paradise Lost--floated through my mind.

"[Fairy tale] does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat...giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy;

Julie | Sun, 03/08/2009

Formerly Kestrel

What a dream. I once had a

What a dream.

I once had a dream I turned into a centaur and people wanted to do tests on me, and I dreamed not to long ago that I could fly at will, but it wasn't much like that.
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Sun, 03/08/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Hi, Kestral

I told you people would love this. And cool dream, btw. It's nice to know that other people have dreams like that too.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Tue, 03/10/2009

I know I already said I like

I know I already said I like this but I do I really do. How come I don't have dreams that make sense?
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
I personally predict that the world will come crashing to a halt if you don't forward this to 50 Gazillion people by noon tomorow!!
-me (in parody of a chain e-mail)

Keri | Wed, 03/11/2009

Whoa!

Whoa... O_O This is beautiful. "See the blue" almost makes me cry... Of course, I've always loved wings and flying, so I might be partially prejudiced. :) But I think not. It's wonderful.

Sarah B. | Fri, 03/20/2009

Reply to Sarah B.

Yeah, I totally am obssessed with flying...have you ever read Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis or Birdwing by Rafe Martin?

And yes, my name comes from this story.
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Sun, 03/22/2009

Formerly Kestrel

Wow. You're a fantastic

Wow. You're a fantastic writer. And your dream came close to making sense!!! Mine pretty much never do....

~Erin~

"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one on my left knee that is the perfect map of the London Underground....." Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"I'm not skerd." Adam Lambert

E | Fri, 06/05/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Thanks

Well, it makes sense while you're having it...
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Mon, 06/08/2009

Formerly Kestrel

You are an amazing writer,

You are an amazing writer, Krestel.

********************************************

"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I believe, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

Maethorwen (not verified) | Tue, 12/08/2009

....Wow

I have to admit it; this made me tear up. See the blue? Absolutely beautiful.

Is this part of a longer work?

Anonymous | Wed, 04/28/2010

Navigation

User login

Please read this before creating a new account.