Wheezing and sighing, he climbed upwards, ever upwards. The thick bough between his hands branched, branched, branched again, growing thinner as it did. Occasionally he took a wrong turn, came to the end and just wasn’t high enough. He felt it, knew it. Back he turned, following his trail back down through the canopy until he crossed the wrong turn once more. Hand over hand, his legs and feet pushing as best they could, he grew weary but felt the pressing urge to continue on. It was something inside him, the need, the push. Every Flyer felt it. Every Flyer needed it. Wanted it. It was all-consuming.
Time became irrelevant. Was it minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except the light. As he drew closer to the top, the end of this leg of his journey, he felt the wind shift beneath his carapace. A sweeter flavor to the air. Instead of a damp, decaying taste, this new breeze carried the breath of life upon it.
With one final press forward, a beam of sun suddenly shined upon his face. In that one moment he became intensely invigorated. He became new within and without. Another urge welled up from somewhere inside him and he felt his back splitting open and a pressure pushing out. He wanted to push using his lungs, so he did.
A slight twist of his head and he saw something carefully curled and folded pushing out of his back. He pushed with his lungs again and they began to unfurl. Within minutes (hours? days?) they had spread out into four magnificent nearly translucent wings, two on each side. He realized a flex of certain muscles beneath his shell made them move slightly. Quiver and buzz.
They were damp and he was tired so he lay there in the sunbeam, clinging to the tiniest tip of a branch, the new bud of a leaf beginning to form beneath his hands. The sun crawled westward across the sky. And as the light was just changing from bright white to yellow into possibly orange, he felt a new desire. Not only did he want the light, now he wanted Her.
He wanted Her more than he had wanted to climb. More than he had wanted the light. More than he had wanted fresh air. His all-consuming thought became for Her. He flexed his newly-realized muscles. Tested them. Without hesitation he twitched them again and this time he leapt. He flew into the approaching evening sky with renewed purpose. He would find Her and make Her his, or die trying. Of this he had no doubt.
tara caribou | ©2020