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Fantasticoe 2010 Contents

I Believe I Can Fly 

Emily Feret

I remember that day, every detail. I had only one thing on my mind: flying. My eyes had only been adjusted to the pieces of wicker, cotton, and oak that made up my nest. My ears were only tuned to others of my kind and city noises. My mother had told me a bit about the city, like about trucks and people and things of that sort but I was ready for more. My mother went off about her expectations of my  behavior and what I had to stay away from. 

            "Atticus, you are to stay away from all humans. You are NOT to dive bomb a car, just for fun. That's how we lost your cousin. There is a fact about windows you should always remember. If there seems like there should be a window there, 99.8% of the time, there is one.  I want you to try to stay in a group as much as possible…" 

            She continued to ramble, and I continued to not pay attention. 

            "Atticus! This is serious. You are not a hawk, or a crow, or even a pigeon! You are a finch. The only bird that you have an advantage over in size is a hummingbird, and even they can fly backwards!" 

            "Mom you just have to trust me. Please? I want to go!" I begged her. 

            "Well all right. Every child has to leave the nest sometimes I suppose. Oh do be careful." 

            As a right of passage, we sang together one last time; a way of saying goodbye.

"I believe I can fly 
I believe I can tough the sky 
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away" 

            I took the leap of faith and dropped like a stone. I panicked. I started moving my wings. My mom said it was out of instinct, but really I was just freaking out because the ground with a big impending death stamp on it, was getting closer and closer. Whatever I did worked. I felt the air spread out beneath my wings. I was flying. I flew by my mother, chirped loudly, and headed off towards the city. Hello New York. Being a city bird you only have to worry about two things: what you eat and pigeons. What may look like a piece of candy is really just a button off some kid's coat, and that burning white stick on the ground …..NOT a marshmallow!  And pigeons, well, you just have to watch out for them when they attempt to land. They do not have the best depth perception and are not the skinniest birds, if you know what I mean. My mother had always told me too look someone in the eye when I talked to them. But I asked a pigeon for directions once, and his head moved around so much it gave me a headache just trying to keep up. 

            That day I was discovering the sources of all the noises that had once been a mystery to me. The loud monotone beeping came from a truck backing up. The loud, angry sounds came from cars in a line, barely moving. There were lights that changed colors, boxes that sold food,  hot dogs they called them but, they didn't look like dogs to me, and too many humans to count. I decided to find a group to stick with after I saw a human holding a pigeon. Stupid bird. 

            I found a couple of my friends on top of a street light, Scout and Jem. Scout and Jem grew up a few nests away. Scout and I hatched on the same day. It was their first day of freedom as well. Scout was messing around, hopping back and forth across the pole, and threatening people. 

            "Look at me one more time! See what happens! I'll poop right on your head!" 

            Jem and I laughed, not at the possible fate of the human's head, but at Scout's self-righteousness, and his over-confidence in his own aim. Needless to say, the man crossed the street, free of harm. The next thing I know, I hear a new sound. The sound was monstrous, worse than any thunderstorm I had ever stayed awake through. The three of us all tried to find the source of it. The sound got closer, and louder. It ripped though one ear and out the other, rattling my brain. Then, for only the briefest moment, I saw a bird. Bigger than any one I could have ever imagined. Then that bird, flew right into a building. Scout was the first to say something. 

            "Obviously someone's Mom forgot to mention the window statistic" 

            I decided to go against my mother's better judgment, and go see if the bird was ok. Scout and Jem struggled to keep up, still adjusting to the flight sensation. The higher I got, the hotter it was. Flames shot out of the building, and licked the air just to get a taste, which only seemed to egg on their hunger. Papers fluttered down all around me. They looked like a group of birds, all taking off at once as if a car had driven past them. Thick, black air hurt my eyes, and forced me to fly lower. Suddenly, Scout and Jem were gone, flying away as fast as their wings would carry them. I turned around and saw another bird flying straight towards me. I dove straight down. I heard the awful sound again. Another bird, another building. Scout didn't mention anything about statistics this time. 

            Another flock of papers flew down. The people were acting like animals. I saw people pushing other people as they ran away. I saw them squawking and screaming, their eyes were wet.  I saw a few people trying to act like birds. They jumped out of the buildings like I had jumped out of my nest this morning. They flailed their arms, but I guess their instinct never kicked in. They looked like a baby bird, falling out its nest too early. I could hear the buildings whining, like a bear caught in a trap, begging to be let go. Someone must have been listening, because that building fell down. If possible, the people went crazier. A cloud swept through the city, moving quickly, engulfing anything in its way. That other tower must have been too lonely without his brother, because right when everything started to calm down, he fell too. 

            Then I heard a sound scarier than those birds, scarier than those people running away, and scarier than those buildings disappearing. I heard silence. A city so full of color now had no pigment. Everything looked like it was covered in snow, but it didn't melt. People walked too slowly, barely moving, but there were no loud, angry noises in result of it. The buildings were gone, but I could see that there was still some metal to perch on. And then as fast as life had gone into slow motion, someone pressed fast forward. I flew away from the wailing trucks, the flashing lights, and the only men running towards the fallen brothers instead of away from them.