Feather

One

Aya looked up with squinting eyes at the sky; a stunning sapphire blue, like the colour of an Articuno’s wings, broken only by the silhouettes of a few birds and the sun, burning down on the territory belonging to her flock.

She snorted and continued scanning the dry, silver-brown grass for bugs. All summer it had been like this, plus the last half of spring, and now, nearing the end of autumn, the cloudless skies had gone beyond tedious. They were dangerous. Each passing day meant another without rain. The Spearow hatched last season didn’t even know what rain was, they thought it was merely a legend like that of the beginning of the world.

But Aya knew better. She and her younger brother and sister had seen three winters now, but it was looking as though they were going to miss the next one. Half the Spearow in the flock had died from lack of water or food, or simply because of the intense heat.

She squinted up again at the sky and let out an irritated sigh.

“Where are you, Articuno?” she asked, more to herself than too the Legendary Bird of Ice. She had been beginning to believe the bird didn’t even exist anymore, and that Moltres had taken it over.

“You’re supposed to bring us rain, but it’s been two seasons, almost three, since we last had any. Where are you!” she cried out in anguish, stomping her foot on the ground. She had long been considering the idea of flying up to the mountains to fetch Articuno and get it to bring rain back to them, and now more than ever the thought prodded at her mind. The mountains weren’t that far away, she could see them on the horizon, and the end of the drought didn’t look like it was coming any time soon, no thanks to Moltres.

She flapped her wings, parting the seemingly bug-less grass, and fluttered back to the flock to talk to Kiko and Yumi about their slightly desperate situation.

“It hasn’t rained for ages,” she began, “So I vote the three of us go and get Articuno so we can have rain again.”

Kiko and Yumi exchanged worried glances, then Kiko turned to her. “Are you sure this is the best way of going about things? I mean, what are the chances of us finding Articuno? And coming back alive?”

“What’s the matter,” Aya mocked, stretching her neck out and narrowing her eyes, “Pidgey.”

“I am not a Pidgey!” Kiko shouted back.

“Well then stop acting like one!” his sister retorted. “So, you in or not?”

Kiko snorted, still glaring at her, and nodded. He didn’t really have a choice. If he refused, she would torment him for the rest of his life, and have more reason for calling him a Pidgey.

“Yumi?”

The smaller bird looked up, her eyes slightly worried.

“Come on, it’ll be fun!”

“Um, okay, I guess so,” Yumi mumbled, not so sure about the plan.

“Great,” Aya grinned, knowing she’d won. Again. “We’ll leave tomorrow morning when the sun comes up.”

Yumi and Kiko looked at each other again, but sighed and nodded, knowing there was no way they could worm their way out of this one.

“Where you going, Spearkrow?” a voice sneered from behind the trio as they were just taking off for their journey.

“Mountains,” Aya answered bitterly, without turning around. “We’re bringing Articuno so you lazy Spearow can have rain again.”

“Is that so, Spearkrow?” the Spearow sneered again.

Aya whipped around, her eyes literally glowing black, a technique she had inherited from her father. “Yes, indeed it is. Care to call me a Spearkrow again?” She cocked her head, causing the Spearow to freeze in mid air, the same black aurora surrounding his taupe and pink-feathered body.

“Bugger off,” Aya hissed, her face beak to beak with his. She let her eyes return to their regular state and let the Spearow go. Although he was trying to look tough, the experience had obviously unnerved him, and he flapped off, looking over his shoulder as he went.

Aya snorted and wheeled around, her siblings in her wake.

Old Fiction