A Windmill's Tale

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

A magpie flies through the sky finding food for their child, when a thunderstorm strikes. In a flash, everything changes.

A Windmill’s Tale

Chapter 1

I flew upwards towards the top of the eucalyptus tree, where the branches were just beginning to die off. The brown sticks broke easily and made perfect nesting material. Using my black and white beak, I bit off a small branch with a couple dying leaves clothing its thin body. Then I jumped and glided back down to the lower realms of the great tree. My home was a vast, double-trunked, eucalyptus tree, with branches stretching out in maze like formations into the sky. It hadn’t rained in months, but my great fortress was doing quite fine considering the circumstances. Tall yellow, dry grass and thick pieces of old bark surrounded the base of the mighty 2 trunks, while a couple meters past the grass the tree was guarded by some horrifically large cacti. What a massive tree to call home. As I flew back towards the middle heights of the right trunk, I heard a signature piercing yell to my left. Luna was hungry again. I changed my course and flew to the small nest Luna had just awoken from. How beautiful my little baby was. Luna was just beginning to develop her first black and white feathers to clothe her tiny naked body, I’d have to start taking her out of the nest soon. She was such a blank slate, a tiny child full of infinite possibilities. One day I’d see her collapse into a single path, but for now she was a limitless being capable of anything and everything. 

Despite Luna's young age, she already had a signature charecteristic: a black streak across her otherwise nude coloured body.

I landed on the somewhat shabby nest and placed the eucalyptus branch onto the right edge of the nest where it is was starting to develop holes, I’d clearly have to work on it more later. Luna yelled again, opening her jaws, begging for food. I was about to call Richard, my mate, and ask him to look for some insects to feed Luna, but I could see he was chasing off humans that were getting far to close to our beautiful fortress. Sometimes I wondered whether we shouldn’t have nested in the middle of a park. Sigh, the life of a magpie is a hard one. And with that I dived off the nest and left Richard and Luna behind in search of food for my gorgeous daughter.

As I coasted above the evil humans ‘playing’ dangerously close to my home, flying far above the beautiful purple Jacaranda trees, I decided it would be best if I went further out, and properly escaped their prying eyes. There were a couple rain clouds in the sky for the first time in weeks, but if I had to guess it would be at least a couple hours before the rains finally came. I passed by a typical Australian house, with a rusty windmill to the side, and stopped for a breather upon it. The house was next to a cattle farm which seemed to have some green grass left on it, perfect. Where there is green, there is water. Where there is water, there is food. Suddenly, I felt a raindrop on my feathers. Goodness, the rain was coming far earlier than expected. Undeterred, I landed on the soft grass and smelled the ground for the scent of worms. Ahh, there it was. Right in front of me, about an inch and a half into the ground was a worm minding it’s business, probably snacking on an old piece of berry. As more and more rain drops hit my feathers, I dug my beak into the red dirt and grabbed the slimy creature by it’s tail. I jumped back into the sky and it was as if the clouds just fell onto the ground. In an instant it was pouring with rain, and the clouds were disturbingly misty. I’d have to rely on my somewhat uncoordinated sense of direction. I flew quickly through the sky, cruising just above the trees when BOOOM! The roar of thunder and piercing brightness of white-hot lightning exploded right in front of me eyes. I was so dazed I didn’t even notice that silhouette of a windmill right in front of my face.

 

 

Chapter 2

I opened my eyes to a blinding white light I was slowly being carried towards. I guess this was the end. I was pulled closer and closer…. and then back down. What?!? As I regained my senses, I heard the rickety sound of an old hinge rattling on behind me. And a landscape of green grass and a couple cattle materialised in front of me. Some wind blew by that would normally be refreshing, but instead I was just moved upwards and downwards again at a sickening rate. I flapped my wings, but nothing happened. With absolute horror I realised I didn’t have any wings or feathers, no black and white beak, no blunt claws, no sleek frame. Instead, it had all been replaced with a rusty, metallic body held 10 meters in the air. I was an old, circular rotor upon some patchy scaffolding constructed of rotting wood and iron.

AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! I screamed…. Except I didn’t, I couldn’t even scream. My dusty iron skeleton had no voice to express its thoughts. So I cried, and yelled, and bellowed with emotion that no one else would ever hear. Never again would my thoughts be so torturously loud. My instincts jumped to the only thing that really mattered. What would happen to LUNA!?! I didn’t know, I couldn’t know. I – I’d – I’d, never know. I had lost all power over everything that mattered. Never again would I be whole once more. Never again would I know love, beauty, and empathy. Never again would anything ever matter. I looked down, and I saw a magpie’s body lying on the ground, bloody and wet.

An hour passed. Another hour said goodbye. A third hour left. Despite myself, I must admit that I calmed down a little, eventually. I burned with emotional pain, but as I went round and round, watching the sun cross the sky, I also became a little…. Bored. I felt horribly guilty for being bored after such nightmarish truths had been revealed to me, but I couldn’t deny that the power of the realisation faded a bit, and it was replaced with... nothing really. Nothing but the hot sun, and the occasional rollercoaster of a breeze. I couldn’t fly and explore the area, I couldn’t eat a tasty grasshopper, I couldn’t even sing a horrible melody of shrieks and screams. Being a windmill sucked.

To pass the time I began to explore all the details of the surrounding area. Just past the yellow lawn in front of me was a gravel road, filled with potholes and rocks a little to large to drive over comfortably. Past the road was a lovely cattle paddock, filled with lush grass and alien bottle trees. The cattle minded their own business, relaxing in groups in the quiet shade. Hidden amongst the trees was a rusty old wooden tin house, held together by 2 nails and a lot of good luck. I pondered why no one had taken the rickety thing down yet, it was probably a breeding ground for vicious snakes and the like. Then again, the ancient tin house gave the place a great deal of history and character that the newer farms lacked. Behind the rotting house were some low hills covered in tree pear, a type of cactus the grew into large trees with bright red fruit. I can tell you from experience the fruit tastes great, but the cacti themselves are covered in both large wooden spikes, and nearly invisible hairs that drive you insane for days on end should you ever brush a wing against their green surface. The whole hill was forested in these things, acting as a natural defense to any stray wildlife trying to enter the farm. I shuddered at the thought of accidentally flying into the horrific cacti forest.

On the other side of the road to the right a quarter mile, was a large creek surrounded by thick reeds and filled with drowning plants. Small trees must have once grown in the bottom of the creek, living off the still moist soil, before being nearly encapsulated in the water when the summer came and the rains came down. The poor plants looked like desperate survivors, their dying leaves poking above the muddy surface of the water begging for sunlight. The banks of the creek were about 2 meters tall on the far end, perfect for any child wanting to dive in, and the top surface of the banks were coated with rocks and stones of all shapes and sizes. A little past the creek were a couple houses on either side of the road. They were lifted off the ground by wooden stilts for reasons I had yet to uncover, and the walls were covered with a patchy white paint in dying need of another coat. There was a certain beauty to the small neighborhood around these farms, a nice sense of community in the vast uncaring world.

A little to the right and a little behind lay a sturdy brick house, with a brick chimney poking out of the new tin roof. Whoever kept this house had spoilt the place with love despite its obvious age. It had wooden doors carved with intricate designs resembling the heads of barn animals, bulls, sheep, goats and the like. The windows were clean, and to my suprise lacked the cracks normally present on the windows round here. It was a wonder the glass had survived for so long, maybe the stupid birds that tried to fly through closed windows I usually saw didn’t live round here. To my left was a trampoline that was one of the few obviously new things that could be seen round the area. It’s intact netting and shiny springs looked awfully out of place with the rusty farming equipment from centuries ago next to it. It was an example of contrast that I found was horribly used; who thinks new steel and dying iron go together?

However in all this detail, there was one thing that I could not see, and it was driving me to insanity. WHAT WAS BEHIND ME!?!? Normally I could fly across a whole area and see everything for miles from my position in the sky, but in this stupid windmill body of mine, I could not even turn to see what lay behind my spinning rotor. It was almost certainly an agricultural farm of sorts, given the farming equipment next to the trampoline and the lack of animal sounds from behind me, but of what sort? It was driving me to unreasonable, unbearable frustration.

Suddenly, to distract me from my painstaking unknowns, a little girl walked out of the house and onto the grass from the house beside me. She looked about 9, and had beautiful blonde, curly hair, even I could admit that. Her skin was tanned, and she wore a blue dress decorated with yellow and pink flowers. She was awfully short, and lacked any footwear at all, ignoring all the potential threats, both painful and dangerous, that typically resided on the Australian ground. I instinctually pulled away in disgust, little children like her were most prone to disturbing nests, then deciding to bring them home to show their parents, leaving you nestless right before you’re supposed to have children. I’d seen it happen to my friends before, and anyway, what kind of parent lets their kids climb trees just so they can ruin birds homes? The little girl hummed something to herself happily, then came towards the bottom of my metal scaffolding. Then…. She started to climb all over it.

I hated it. I could feel every single step of her feet and grab of her fingers. She took little care to make her steps soft and comfortable, instead jumping between the bars and pieces of wood like a monkey on caffeine. Each of her movements felt like a bruising strike, I could barely bear being chained up like this, unable to fly away. She was both uncomfortable, scary, and deeply disturbing. After what seemed like hours, she eventually jumped off me to the ground and went back inside when someone with the voice of a middle-aged lady called “Lucy!” through the door. Thank goodness.

Being a Windmill really sucked.

 

 

Chapter 3

2 weeks had passed since the stupid girl, correction, since Lucy had begun to climb all over my frame. In all honesty I was beginning to grow use to it, and it was far less awful than the first time she began climbing, but pretending to be really annoyed at it gave me something to do other than spin round and round under the burning Australian sun. Out of the corner of me eye, coming out of the front door of the house, came out a man in his 40s wearing jeans and a long-sleeved buttoned-up shirt full of holes. He had hair past his ears that was beginning to go grey. In one arm he carried a small baby, maybe 4 months old, and in the other he carried Lucy who was giggling away at something or other. He walked off the front porch and put both children down. Lucy ran off to the trampoline, but the baby simply started rolling and crawling around all over the grass, a big toothless grin on his face as he did so. The Baby wore a thick nappy without any pants on, and a bright yellow t-shirt. Even from up here I could see the deep blue of his eyes.

 “Good job Ben!” the father called out, bursting with pride. “Victoria, come look. Our boy is already starting to roll and crawl!”. A middle-aged woman with short, blonde, curly hair came out of the front door. She was wearing a maroon shirt and black shorts and had wide green circular earrings. Her fashion choices didn’t fit at all as far I was concerned.

“Oh, look at that. Ben is doing pretty well for 4 months.” She said with a touch of disinterest in her voice. “Lucy, why don’t you come off the trampoline and clean up your toys, you left them all over the table earlier.”

“She’s having fun, can’t it wait till later Victoria?” The man replied. Victoria gave him a glare.

“No. Lucy, go clean up your toys, now.” Victoria insisted.

“Do I have to?” Lucy replied.

“Stop complaining and get on with it!” Victoria raised her voice. Lucy begrudgingly complied and went back inside, while Victoria closed the door and the man picked up Ben, who didn’t look quite as happy as before. The 2 parents lowered their voices to a mere whisper, I couldn’t hear their words, but there was an aura of tension in their conversation I didn’t particularly like. The longer they talked, the louder the conversation, or argument as it might have been, became.

“I’m the one who actually gets things done round here David, like it or not. All you do is encourage lazy attitudes in Lucy.” Victoria’s voice was audible once more as the argument escalated.

“I just think that there’s no harm in letting a kid play and relax for once. It’s Saturday and she’s had a really hard week at school from the other kids.” David said. Ben started to cry.

“Well maybe she should just learn to deal with it at some-“ 

“Mummy, I’m done cleaning up, can I play now?” Lucy opened the door interrupting her parents.

“Sure, I guess.” Victoria said with frustration. She gave a final glare to David and walked back inside, closing the door far harder the needed.

Humans families are so pointlessly argumentative, I thought to myself as the breeze blew harder, killing my train of thought completely.

 

 

Chapter 4 - 3 months later

“I’m gonna go play on the windmill Mummy.” Lucy called out as she raced out the door barefoot. She jumped aboard my iron scaffolding and began to climb up my frame. Her tiny hands felt nice as they griped my skeleton, and her soft feet almost tickled the wooden planks as she jumped and climbed to the second layer of my windmills body. It was nice seeing her playing on me again. It was nice knowing I was the most important thing on her mind when she came back from school. I must admit I had grown awfully found of her playful, adventurous attitude. I hope Luna is doing as well as Lucy is, I thought to myself. A wave of guilt and sadness passed through me. I didn’t think about Luna as much as I used to, in fact I tried to suppress such thoughts usually, but I missed her deeply. I felt awfullly guilty that Richard was left to care for her all on his own, hopefully Luna would be alright.

Lucy continued climbing up my frame, higher and higher, until she reached the third and final wooden platform, right beneath my sight. She stood up and grasped on my poles, then swung on it admiring the sky behind me. “Argghh! Ahoy maties!” She yelled with excitement, “I see farm in the distance.” 

“And what kind of farm would that be Lucy?” David said with a pirate accent as walked out of the house and onto the dry grass. Thank goodness, I might finally figure out what was behind me. While the anxiety had significantly lessened, it was still far from gone.

“It be a COTTON FARM matey!” Lucy called out to David. OH THE RELIEF.

“Well then I’ll set course for that Lucy!” David said as he walked towards the washing line, pretending it was a steering wheel. It was one of the circular washing lines, which could be spun by a handle near the center. David spun the clothes line round and round, faster and faster each time. He was about to say something when,

“Dad, why do all the kids at school hate me?” Lucy suddenly said in much more somber tone. David was taken back by the question.

“Well, uhh..” David walked towards the windmill, “Maybe they only don’t like you because they don’t know you very well yet. Sometimes kids are scared of people they don’t know, or people that are different. Have you tried making friends with any of them?”

“Whenever I try and play with them they just tell me to get lost Dad!” Lucy burst into tears, her tough facade breaking down completely. “I’m trying best but they still don’t like me.”

“Well, truth be told I’m probably not the best at friendship advice if we’re being honest, but sometimes you just have to keep trying. Have you talked to the teachers about it?” David said as he climbed up my frame towards lucy. Lucy didn’t answer. David climbed up to the top platform and gave Lucy a hug. Lucy cried, David began to cry, and I…. well I wished I could cry. And that was the most peculiar wish I had ever wished, for not even magpies can cry. Yet I wanted to cry for Lucy, I wanted to cry for not ever being there for Lucy. I wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be okay, even if it wouldn’t be. David moved over to the other side of the platform facing the cattle farm and Lucy followed. “Lucy, how about we sing a song. What would you look to sing?”

“I don’t know.” Lucy said with a sniffle as she wiped away some of her tears.

“How about Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? It’s your favorite.” David asked.

“But there aren’t any stars out yet Dad.” Lucy replied. She was right, it was late afternoon if I had to guess.

“That doesn’t really matter does it? Come on, I’ll start.” David said with a calming peace in his voice.

“Twinkle twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are.” David sung quietly.

“Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.” Lucy joined in an octave about David.

“Twinkle twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are.” They both sung while Lucy rested her head on David’s shoulder.

“How about we go talk with Victoria about your lonliness Lucy.” David said. Lucy didn’t reply. Lucy had fallen asleep on David’s shoulder. David picked up Lucy onto his back with one hand, and slowly carried her down the windmill. It was beautiful. It was utterly beautiful.

I hoped dearly that Richard would take as good care of Luna as David took care of Lucy.

 

 

Chapter 5 – A month later

It was early morning and already the sun was punishing. My iron blades must have been able to fry eggs it was so hot. I hated the summer. At least when I was still a magpie I could relax in the shade, unfortunately I had no such mercy here. Suddenly, whizzing down the road came a teenager on a blue bicycle. I couldn’t quite catch his appearance he flew past so fast, but he was wearing a brown cap and a long-sleeved shirt, even considering the weather. That’s a thought, flew. Flying, sigh. Oh, the grand days of being able to coast past anyone and anything from the sky, then diving down at unimaginable speeds, blinded by the force of air you crashed into. Though at this point, I’d take snails speed over this stationary hell. I’m getting of track aren’t I? Point was this mailman took out a small brown package from the basket on the back of his bike, slowed to a stop and tossed it by the mailbox. Then he…. Waved goodbye and was off his way. Don’t misunderstand, he didn’t wave at the house, or the cattle. No, he waved at…. Me. A simple glance at a windmill and a simple gesture and he was off. Then a gust of a wind came, which was both refreshingly cool, and sickeningly quick. Round and round I go once more.

A couple hours passed, but not much happened this Saturday. Lucy was sick, and from the brief glimpses I saw through the window, Victoria was taking care of Ben. So I watched the clouds, interpreted their shapes, focusing on how they slowly grew smaller and smaller before disappearing completely as time passed. It was relaxing in one way, boring in another. Both concepts had kinda blended together at this point. More time passed. I saw someone herding the cattle from the farm across the road and taking them over a hill to who knows where. I heard about 5 cars pass by, their roaring engines giving me at least something to focus on. I felt the sharp scratches of a couple pink Cockatoos’ claws perching on top of me. If I knew it hurt this much, I might have stuck to perching on power lines. And at the end of it all, another day had passed as the sun began to bid farewell, another day, barely distinguishable from the last. Humpf.

Well, that’s not entirely true. The sunset was beautiful tonight, with a beautiful blend of yellows and oranges painting the clouds, while the bright marble we call the sun slowly creeped behind the cacti hills. It was gorgeous, the best one I’d seen in months.

As I admired the first stars appearing in the night sky, all the beauty vanished. A lump developed in my throat. The distant yells of a warring family could be heard from inside the house. They were louder than I’d ever heard prior. Try as I might, I couldn’t understand them through closed doors. Then, coming charging out the front door was Victoria.

“Go to hell, b***h!” Victoria yelled. Then she went into the garage and left in a black Ute. Skidding cars and desperate sobbing had never sounded so quiet. David sat on the front porch and cried, unstoppable tears flowing down his face. He sat there for a very, very, long time.

 

David slept on that porch for the few hours he did sleep that night. As the sun began to wake, Lucy came out of the front door.

“Dad, where’s Mum?” Lucy asked innocently

“Mum’s gone Lucy.” David said quietly as he sat up.

“When is she coming back?” Lucy asked, not sure what was going on yet disturbed by David’s bitter tone.

“I don’t think she is coming back Lucy. I don’t know if she’s ever coming back.” David said as he began to cry once more. Lucy began to cry to.

“I’m gonna miss her Dad, I’m gonna miss her so much.” Lucy cried

“I know Lucy, I will to.” David said, embracing Lucy on the front porch.

And with that I cried as best a windmill could. I cried for Luna, who I knew was also crying for her mother. But Luna’s mother wasn’t just gone, she was dead, never to be seen again.

Suddenly, whizzing down the road came a teenager in a brown cap on a blue bike. He didn’t throw a package off his bike this time, but he still waved. A simple glance, a simple gesture, and he was off. Maybe someday he’d know what that meant to me.

 

 

Chapter 7 – 3 months later

It was a beautiful afternoon. The sweet autumn air was cool, with just enough sunlight for a beautiful temperature. Lucy jumped on the trampoline, practicing acrobatic maneuvers such as flips and ninja kicks in midair, while Ben was crawling around having races with David, who was also crawling around on the lush grass. That’s right, the grass was actually green and beautiful for once. All was as it should be. Then came a white car driving up the gravel road, that turned into the driveway. Out walked a mother in her 30s in a blue coat, and a 10-year-old boy who rushed over to the trampoline.

“Well hello there Mary.” David called out

“How are you David?” Mary answered.

“Doing pretty good in all honesty. How's little old Noah doing?”

“He’s been really enjoying playing with Lucy at school. Anyway, I’ve really got to be off, sorry for not being able to stay round. I’ve got to drop off a child at footy practice.”

“Oh well, take care.” David said as he waved goodbye. Mary pulled out of the driveway, and David walked towards the trampoline.

“Either of you want cake for afternoon tea?” 

“Yes please!” Lucy and Noah said in unison, giggling away as they did so. David walked inside, and I turned my focus to Lucy and Noah. The two were having a blast.

“You wanna do a trick competition?” Lucy asked

“Sure, you go first.” Noah replied. Lucy did a misshapen cartwheel followed by a roly-poly.

“Was that good?” Lucy asked.

“It was amazing!” Noah said with utter excitement, “I’ll go next.” Noah jumped on his back which bounced him into the air, then he did a 180 degree turn and landed on his stomach…. All with his eyes closed.

“Good job Noah!” Lucy called out. The two of them continued, performing dive rolls, front flips, and attempting corkscrews for quite some time.

“Cake is ready!” David called out.

“Yay!” Lucy and Noah said as they raced to the house. David placed down 3 plates with chocolate cake coated in icing sugar on the grass, which were rapidly snatched up by both children.

“I’m done Dad, is there anymore?” Lucy asked hopefully

“Yeah, I’m done to.” Noah said as he shoved the lasts of the cake into his mouth.

“Already, I’m only on my third bite. Honestly, you two. Anyway, there’s one last piece on the table inside, you can halve it between yourselves. Any complaining about piece size and I’ll take both.” David said. Lucy and Noah were already inside before he had even finished talking.  

It’s nice to know Lucy finally has a friend, I thought to myself as the 2 of them consumed another piece of cake at rapid pace. They were done before I’d even finished thinking.

“Noah, you wanna go climb the windmill?” Lucy said, full of excitement

“Uhh,” Noah looked at the windmill, “Actually I think I’d prefer to keep playing on the trampoline.”

“Come on Noah, it’s fun!” Lucy insisted

“Okay, lets not force anything on anyone Lucy.” David said

“Okay…. Bet you can’t do a front flip sideways!” Lucy said

“I’ll try.” Noah said as he raced off to the trampoline

Suddenly, a teen in a brown cap on a blue bike whizzed past the house. That was weird, he normally came in the morning. What’s more he didn’t have any packages or letters in the back of his bicycle. But he waved anyway, like he always did. I wished I could wave back.

 

 

Chapter 8 – 5 months pass

“Okay, up you go Ben…. Now walk to Lucy!” David urged as he released Ben towards Lucy who was about 2 meters in front.

“Come on Ben!” Lucy said full of excitement. Ben had a grin like no other as he dashed towards Lucy. “You can do i- oh.” Lucy said as Ben fell to the ground. Ben wore a blue onesie covered in yellow stars, with a thick hoodie protecting him from the freezing winter. His outfit matched his baby blue eyes perfectly. Ben however, was undeterred by his fall. Like a stealth operative in the army, Ben commando-crawled across the dirt as quickly as he could.

“Good boy Ben!” David said as Lucy picked up Ben from the ground and swung him around. I looked away for a moment and breathed in deeply, enjoying the sweet taste of icy oxygen.

“Dad look, it’s Noah!” Lucy said as she hurriedly gave Ben to her Dad and raced off to the driveway. My attention was immediately drawn, and I saw Noah slowing his walk and gently jogging towards Lucy.

“Where’s your Mum Noah?” David called loudly

“She said I could walk, besides, it’s a beautiful day for walking.” Noah replied, bubbling with optimism

“What are you talking about, it’s freezing!” Lucy said. Noah just laughed and they both raced inside, where a nice warm fire scared off the chilly air. The two of them went and did something for a while in what I assume was Lucy’s room, given by the sound of muttering coming from the middle-left side of the house. I was getting far to good at all this. Some 30 minutes later, Lucy came rushing out of the house.

“Come on Noah, climbing the windmill is tons of fun!” Lucy giggled

“But it’s, uh, really cold.” Noah replied nervously

“You’re the one who walked all the way here. Besides, you’ll warm up when you start climbing, and the views beautiful.” Lucy urged

“Okay… then” Noah said with a nervous sigh. Lucy pulled Noah towards the windmill and once there, almost jumped to the first wooden platform, while Noah slowly and carefully climbed up, step by step, hand by hand until he reached platform number 1. “Lucy, this is a bit high.” Noah said. I could feel the shaking off his hands against my metal bones.

“Oh, come one Noah, no point in stopping now. You can see all the way into the City from the top.” Lucy replied. Noah didn’t say anything, instead just slowly climbing a little higher towards the second platform, all while Lucy almost danced from the top, beckoning Noah up. “Hurry up slow coach.” Lucy said, with more than a hint of frustration in her voice.

“Don’t rush me,” Noah replied as he put one foot on the second platform “I’m going as fast- AHHHHHH!” Noah screamed as he fell down. He bounced off the lower back on one of my lower bars, which hurt tremendously. Flipping off that bar he landed just upright enough the crash onto one leg. CRACK! A dreadful sound came for his right leg.

“NOAH!” Lucy cried as she slid down the outermost pole of my skeleton.

“AHHH! Lucy, get David!” Noah cried, his face spelling out agony. Lucy froze for a second, processing the situation. Then raced to the door only for David to come rushing out already. He was dialing 000 while he quickly felt Noah’s bone for any clear-cut breaks.

“Lucy, go get Ben, he’s inside his room.” David ordered

“But-“

“Just do it!” David said trying, but failing to stay completely calm. “I need an ambulance.” David said into his phone. I don’t remember much past that, David’s call, Lucy’s guilty silence, Noah cries of pain, it all blurred together. The last I remember were flashing red and blue lights and a team of ambulance staff bringing Noah up on a stretcher and putting him in the ambulance while Mary pulled up in the driveway as well and hopped aboard the ambulance. Lucy sat on the ground in tearful shock holding Ben, and David sat down on the grass and released a deep breath, finally able to breath. Then David crawled over to Lucy on the porch and comforted her.

Suddenly, whizzing down the road, came a teenager in a brown cap on a blue bike. He stopped by the mailbox, and put in a couple letters. He looked over at David and Lucy, and his expression dropped. Still though, he glanced up at me and waved, a simple gesture and a simple glance. Then he took a final look at David and Lucy, and cycled off into the distance.

 

 

Chapter 9 – A week later

Heavy raindrops pelted down on me. The icy water complemented the freezing air in the most awful way possible. BOOM! The terrifying sound of thunder echoed through the air as I saw forks of bright white lightning touch the ground. I couldn’t quite tell how close the lightning was, but it felt far to close for comfort. Memories of that fateful night so long ago flashed between the peals of thunder. But far worse the freezing air and terrifying thunder, was the horrific speed at which I spun. It was as if I became an airplane propeller, the incomprehensibly fast wind sending my round faster than I knew was possible. I could hear every single dreadful groan and scream from the shabby mechanisms behind me. At any minute I could sworn I was about to be torn off my scaffolding, released into the wilds.

And…. A part of me long that fate. To be free again, even if just for a moment. To fly. Yet, another part of me was shook to their very core. CRASH! BOOM! EEEAAHH! The sounds of deadly thunder and the ghostly screaming of the wind through the holes in my metal plating seemed to echo endlessly through my consciousness. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t yell, I couldn’t hide. Freezing, alone, and terrified I lay for hours as I was whipped by rain and lightning, the crack of a whip replaced with the demonic voice of thunder. I begged to wake up from this nightmare. Torturous thoughts of needing to get home, feed and protect Luna wouldn’t go away, no matter how much I desperately wanted them to.

Finally…. the lightning stopped. The rains continued, but far lighter. Yet, the thoughts of Luna didn’t leave. A flame of motherhood long forsaken was relight in me, purposelessly. Even when the sun showed it’s face once more, I couldn’t shake Luna’s scream for food or her tiny, helpless, naked body from my mind.

 

 

Chapter 10 – 3 months later

It was a delightful Wednesday afternoon for the most part. Noah was over, David had finished working on the farm early, all was as it should be…. Nearly.

“Come on Ben, nearly there…. Yes!” Noah called out as he caught Ben from his brief 4 second walk. Noah gave Ben a good hug from his position on the ground. Ben laughed.

“It’s rather ironic isn’t how you who cannot walk is teaching someone to walk isn’t it Noah?” David said with a chuckle.

“Well, I’m working on it, I can stand up without help now.” Noah said as he demonstrated getting up without putting weight on his leg-long cast by using the bottoms of his crutches.

“Huh, impressive.” David commented

“Lucy, do you wanna draw something inside?” Noah asked hopefully

“Not really, I’m kind of enjoying just relaxing.” Lucy said. She sat on the front porch wearing a white skirt and shirt, she was getting rather into color coding these days. She had tied her thick, curly hair into pigtails, and just stared at me.

“Whatever.” Noah said as he went inside. This response from Lucy was far from unusual these days. Lucy didn’t even glance at Noah, she just kept staring at me. She hadn’t climbed me once since Noah had broken his leg and I was greatly missing it. It felt particularly lonely without her.

 

That evening I was counting the amount of bird poop on my blades while waiting for the sun to set, when something rather peculiar happened as far as I was concerned. All was seemingly well, Noah was still with Lucy and the family having a nice dinner of what smelled like Shepard’s Pie. It’s truly extraordinary how good I was getting at identifying foods, I even knew their names! Eventually the awful sounds of scraping, squeaking cutlery stopped, and I heard the sounds of some dishes being put in the sink. Then Lucy went back outside and looked right up at me. Her sorrowful, tearful eyes almost piercing my soul.

“Lucy, come over here.” Noah called out from the porch.

“Why?” Lucy replied

“Because I want to tell you something.” Noah said and Lucy silently walked towards him. “Lucy, if it’s about the windmill, I want you to know, I forgive you.” Lucy didn’t say a thing. She didn’t cry, she just gave Noah a big, warm hug.

“Thanks Noah.” Lucy finally said as she released her embrace.

“That’s okay.” Noah said. Suddenly a white car turned into the driveway. “Well, looks like I’ve gotta go. Goodbye Lucy.” Then he waved, and Lucy waved back, a fresh smile on her face.

I looked at Lucy’s beautiful curly hair. I watched as she walked back inside, with fresh enthusiasm. And I felt…. suffocatingly lonely. Lucy was happy, but she wasn’t beside me any longer. And Luna…. Well I didn’t even know if she was happy. The Sun was slowly setting over the hills and I suddenly felt the incredible urge to scream. Lucy wouldn’t climb on me anymore, Victoria had left her, Ben was growing up so quickly….. and I couldn’t see the cotton farm behind me! Everything from the smallest anxieties to the all-encompassing foundations of my existence began to both infuriate and terrify me. Some sparrows flew by and I felt both nostalgic and depressed, as well as powerfully jealous. Suddenly, whizzing down the road came a teenager in a brown cap, who waved at me, but this time it didn’t calm me down. He could move, he could sing, he could wave, I COULDN’T DO ANYTHING!

I looked towards the golden, ember sunrise, the epicenter of my emotions, and… just for a moment…. I imagined beating powerful wings like I once had. I imagined flapping them as hard as I could, fighting for flight, screaming for air, screaming for LIFE! And…. With a mixture of horror and fascination I realised I was spinning at an extraordinary rate, even faster than in the thunderstorm, despite the lack of any wind. My hinges cried out in pain as I was nearly flung off them onto the ground. My whole mechanism made the most awful racket as I desperately tried to slow myself down. I spun round and round at incompressible, mortifying pace. Then in a flash, I felt almost like I was free, released back into the air…. Then it faded. Slowly, I calmed down as I began to relax once more into a better pace. Out of the corner of my spinning, circular vision I saw David walk out of the house and look at me in utter confusion.

 As I looked into David’s utterly confused idea, I had an epiphany. An idea so wondrous, all my fears vanished.

Eventually David walked back inside, still utterly confused, but I couldn’t walk away from this.

All I needed to wait for was another thunderstorm.

 

 

Chapter 11 – 2 days later

Icy air flew by, accompanied by bullets of freezing water and a couple tiny balls of hail. The heavens had opened once more, but I wasn’t scared anymore. Though my rusty blades were cold, I wasn’t cold. Though in all reality, I was completely on my own, I wasn’t alone. I had a fiery determination unlike anything I’d ever known.

CRACK! The thunder sounded as lightning flashed in front of me. It normally would have shock me to my core, but I wasn’t afraid. It was far too late for that. My whole frame shook and ached as the breath of god threatened to tip me off the legs, but for the first time ever, I almost…. Enjoyed it. Eager with anticipation, I looked forwards into the utter darkness, only visible by the frequent lightning showing me the way. I had run through the plan a thousand times in my head, the past 2 days had gone by in a blur. Yet despite my horrific memories of thunderstorms, this one felt different. So very different.

I recalled the area. I had to fly above the cacti hills, then follow the road right for a couple hundred meters. Then in front of me would be a street lined by Jacaranda trees, and on the left would be the park…. Yes, that was right. For the first time ever, I was glad the fateful night so long ago had been burned into my memories, untouched, and completely unforgettable. Then I focused my attention back in the real world, and prepared myself for the journey of a lifetime. I pushed away the intrusive thoughts about how I was already dead. It was time... time to meet Luna again.

I imagined flight. I imagined the pressure of air against cool feathers flapping repeatedly. I imagined the strain and pain of muscles aching from speed. I increased the flapping, like the beat of a drum rapidly increasing its pace. Each flap felt more and more real. Reality slowly started seeping back in as I felt my blades, my propeller, increasing in speed as it went faster and faster. The wind and flight combined together as I felt myself increasing to previously unthinkable speeds. I felt intense gratification as I sliced the raindrops out of thin air. If before I wasn’t cold, now I was boiling. SCCARRAHH! Alien sounds came from whatever muscle or mechanism was desperately hanging onto me. Good. I heard vague, drowned out sounds of thunder and brief flashes in my vision mixed with the ghostly whistling of wind, but I held onto my vision of flight, of burning wings flapping up and down, up and down endlessly.

SNAP! A metallic sound of metal being torn from its place came from behind me as I forced my way off my hinges. I was close. BANG! CRACK! I was so nearly off. I flapped harder, drowning out all else except the feeling of air and flight and freedom. I tried so hard, but one last mechanism would let me go. I was beginning to feel utterly desperate, until I thought of Luna, soaked and cold in her nest, and I felt even more powerful than before. Though I wanted to yell out in agony from the pain of my flapping and spinning, I couldn’t just yet.

CRAAHHKK! I WAS FREE! I WAS FLYING! I WAS GONNA SAVE LUNA!

Like an airplane propeller gone rouge, I cut through the air, powered by wind and imagination. Unimaginable joy and energy filled my body, which now felt light as a feather. Nothing but the blades and core mechanism of the windmill, and a little panel of metal hanging on for dear life was part of me now. Gone were the days of a towering skeleton chaining me to the ground, I had broken every chain the once held me down. I chaotically bounced from side to side, up and down through the sky. I hung onto the tiny amount of directional control I had, trying as hard as I could to fly straight forwards and also at least somewhat upwards. I had come far too far to plummet towards the ground and become the most dangerous lawn mower to ever exist.

 

Yet amongst the joy and freedom, was a undeniable sense of ‘AHHHHH I CAN’T SEE!’. Suddenly my fear was relieved as lightning coated the landscape in bright white. I was far above the cacti hills! Phew, I had felt almost certain I was flying too low to rise above them. As darkness covered the landscape once more, I veered right and in the distance saw an orange street light. I wasn’t flying blind anymore, no, I had a lighthouse to guide me forwards. I didn’t feel any pain of muscle ache any longer, and at the same time I wasn’t even flapping imaginary wings anymore. I had become one with both the rusty iron body I had lived so long with and the harsh wind. All my attention was focused on the orange beacon of light in front of me, that was coming closer and closer.

In what felt like both seconds and hours, I had passed the orange street light, and another one lay about 80 meters in front of me. The orange glow lit up the sides of the road…. Covered in jacaranda trees. I WAS SO CLOSE! Yet that hope was mixed with a new feeling: ‘AHHHH I’M SO CLOSE TO THE GROUND!’ Indeed I was only about 9 meters above the tar road, now that the wind died down a little. But I couldn’t stop now. So instead I spun myself round even harder and aimed myself upwards. It is most difficult to concentrate when your vision is spinning round and round so quickly, but the next street light was nearly upon me when I took a sudden turn left and just managed to clear the Jacaranda tree. I must have cut off half the leaves on the top of the thing.

But then…. Only about 30 meters away…. Was a double-trunked eucalyptus tree lit up by a ghostly flash of lightning. Except this flash of lightning was so bright I suddenly couldn’t see anything except blinding white. Where was it coming from anyway!?!?!

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

 

 

Chapter 12

I awoke to the feeling of crisp morning air and the calming warmth of the sun. Birds chirped around me, having happy little conversations, and singing happy little melodies. Further off, the thumping and yelling of delighted children could be heard. I breathed in the smell of eucalyptus leaves around me. Then I opened my eyes. In front of me lay the rusty remains of an old windmill propeller. The blades were torn apart and bent every which way, and the mechanisms spinning the whole thing littered the ripped yellow grass the windmill lay on. It looked like an ancient piece of technology one would see at a local museum, with a far too detailed history on the farm it came from and who lived there, when you were really just trying to learn about windmills.

I levitated slightly above a fresh concrete path next to the windmill wreck. I felt completely at peace. It was strange, I expected to feel more. There was no nostalgia hidden in that rusty piece of technology, no memories of another life and another world. It was just a broken vessel, completely devoid of any sort of meaning. Maybe I expected to feel more, I was free after all, but I didn’t really feel anything. Was I numb to this new reality I now inhabited? Maybe, it was too early to say. I looked to my far right and saw little children climbing trees and jumping over picnic tables. It warmed my heart just slightly. All the delightful children living their lives and having some fun, what an alien concept that was.

Truth be told, I was waiting for a very particular moment. I didn’t move from my spot next to the windmill for hours. I watched the sun pace its way across the sky. I watched the odd curious parent investigate the windmill wreck and take a couple pictures. I watched an overly energetic dog chase a possum up a tree nearby. I watched the whole world exist around me. Slowly the seconds, minutes, and hours blurred together like a timelapse. But I never looked right, for it was not yet time. A chest of suppressed memories lay there, and I did not yet have the will to open it…

Until now. Judging by the Sun’s position in the sky, it must have been late afternoon. I finally moved from my station, slowly yet effortlessly floating through the air. The 2 vast trunks of a lush Eucalyptus tree stood in front of me. The leaves at the top were no longer yellow, and there was far less bark hanging from the trunk than when I last remembered it. The cacti that once guarded this tree no longer protected it and the grass was now short and green. And sure enough, in the middle heights of the right trunk was a sturdy old nest full of character, just barely visible through the gaps in the leaves. Then out of that nest…. Flew a little magpie covered in grey feathers, with a signature black streak across her chest, accompanied by the still recognizable old Richard.

It was at times like these when I wished most for the ability to cry. Not out of sadness and depression, but out of love, pure, unstoppable love. My little daughter hopped towards me, a look of discovery and curiosity in her deep eyes. I looked back at her, and I knew that she knew. Overwhelmed with a flood of both peace, joy, and love, I flew into her and felt her presence.

And I knew, beyond a doubt, that she felt mine to.

 

Suddenly I heard a loud, metal crash from behind. Turning around, I saw a blue bike lying on the pavement, and a teenager in a brown cap examining some rusty wrecked windmill blades with eager curiosity. Then he stood up…

And looked back at me. He smiled, then picked up his bike, and rode away.

 


Submitted: October 21, 2021

© Copyright 2021 InterstellarOctopus. All rights reserved.

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