I soared high above the streets at the rear of the flock, keeping close to the other birds. My feathers rippled in the wind. I could hear the trees rustling, and birds chirping in the distance. Other than that there was silence. No one was leading- we were just all flying in the same direction. We all somehow knew which way to go.
As we passed from the city into the country, we swooped down towards a stream in a small forest. I landed on a tree branch, closely followed by the other starlings. There we fed on flies and fish, drank from the stream and rested. After a short while, we took off again.
After about another hour of flying, we heard a bird calling. But it wasn’t the warble of a fellow starling. It was the kak kak of a predator. A falcon. Without warning, it descended on us with incredible speed. We scattered in panic, breaking into groups of twos or threes. I found myself flying alongside a starling slightly bigger than me. The falcon swerved upwards unexpectedly, its wings slicing through the air. It was singling a lone starling, who was one of the smallest birds in our flock. Once the falcon had singled out a bird, it had no chance of survival. The falcon was far more agile than any of us. The small starling desperately darted left and right, inches from the falcon. I glanced at it sympathetically, but all the same glad that it wasn’t me. Then the falcon made its killer move: flying just above the starling before grabbing it with its huge talons. The starling let out a cry of pain before collapsing in the claws of the falcon. We relaxed as it flew away, knowing that we were safe for a couple of days at least.
I looked around, and realised that the other starling and I were alone. The whole flock must have separated in the panic. The other starling looked back nervously, making sure that the falcon had gone. We flew on for a couple of hours, keeping an eye out for any other starlings. We saw a flock of swallows, but we kept our distance. We exchanged looks as we passed them, checking each other out, We dove down after another hour, and took a long rest. We ate a couple of flies, but they were small and unsubstantial. We set off anyway, knowing that we had to get moving. The wind was harsh: batting our wings about, completely controlling which direction we went in. We were hurled around, flapping our wings desperately. After a few minutes, the wind died down, but it was still blowing towards us, so it was a struggle to fly.
We reached the ocean after a short while. The wind was a lot less harsh, so it was a great deal easier from there. We flew for ages- I don’t know how long exactly; I seemed to lose track of time. All I could hear was the gentle rush of the waves below. The air was getting warmer. I looked left to the starling travelling with me. He looked tired, and a lot thinner than before. I knew we had to pick up the pace, or he might not make it. I was hungry too, and felt weak and drowsy. I couldn’t give up now though, I knew that. We’d come way too far for that. So I kept going, every part of me aching. So did my companion, but he was flying clumsily.
After what seemed a lifetime, land came into view. We were both starving, and struggling to keep our eyes open. As soon as we crossed over to land, we dived- well, more like fell- towards land. I landed awkwardly, and felt a throbbing pain in my claw. I tried to ignore it as I swallowed a fly, but it was hard to not think about it. The other swallow was steadily drinking from a puddle, and catching the odd fly. He definitely seemed a lot better.
We slept for at least nine hours, which was probably too long, but certainly refreshing. When I woke up, the other starling was already awake, waiting for me. The sky was pale blue and dotted with clouds. I winced when I stood up- I had forgotten my injured claw. We shot up into the air, feeling pleasantly full and awake. My claw seemed better, but it still hurt a lot.
We flew all day, passing over huts, forests and cities on our way. Then, in the distance, we saw three other starlings going in the same direction as us. We called out to them, and they flew over to us, chirping happily at the sight of other birds. I was relieved to see them too. We flew on together, our group five strong now. We soared across the sky, skimming across the clouds, the cool wind lifting us up. I stretched my wings out, and felt the gentle breeze blow against my face.
After another hour, we came to a small village. By now we were all a bit achy and tired, but we kept going. As we came to a clump of trees, we saw them. There they were. One or two birds were missing from the flock, but the vast majority had made it. They called out, welcoming us. I perched myself on the branch, soon followed by the other four birds. We had made it. We were in North Africa.
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