A Breath Into Silence

United States

returning from beyond the grave for reasons i will not explain.

i'm not scared of the dark, and i'll light the way for you if you're afraid to be alone.

INFP | 17 | she/they

Message to Readers

elrin again.

there was an interesting end scene I considered putting in here, but I think it goes better with another character's story.

for clarification, the detha are giant eagle-like birds, often golden brown in color.

she longs for another sky, and who are you to deny her?

December 26, 2020

FREE WRITING

7
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There is a simple poetry to flying among the clouds, pressed close against the back of a detha. Miri loves it, especially clutching tight to the woven reins and digging her heels into her detha Sana’s feathery back and they catch a thermal and drop out of it, plunging down down down until they nearly clip the mountain peaks, rider and bird one in the fall to the ground.

Nalia scolds Miri for it, for the way she and Sana show off, but the words always die on her sister’s tongue when she catches Miri’s gaze. Nalia swears up and down that it’s something in Miri’s brown eyes, star-bright with joy, and it catches on the flush in her cheeks — a sort of wild contentment that Miri can’t help but chase after. She is not like Nalia, who is steady and strong and patient, as permanent as the mountains themselves. And Sana, beautiful golden-brown Sana, is not like Nalia’s Senya, who is a creature of endurance and delicacy. In a way Miri and Sana are matched in their wildness, and that is alright, for Nalia and Senya make up for their actions a hundred-fold.

It is not that Miri doesn’t want to help the village, doesn’t want to prove herself a worthy detha rider. It is simply that she hasn’t quite settled down, yet, hasn’t figured out how to translate the thrill of a wild airborne dance with gravity to something of worth. Nalia has it all figured out, of course, exploring the currents and thermals beyond the coastline, flying eastward as far as she can before coming back to report her findings to the elders to map. She swears that once she and Senya went so far that they could see the shore of another land. Miri thinks it all hogwash, of course, no more real than the god who is said to fly without wings, but still a part of her longs to prove herself like that.

The truth of the matter is that the skies near their home have become too familiar for Miri, and Sana often turns her beak towards unknown horizons and screams out, cries so loud that the mountains echo with her longing. And sometimes Miri will rise and stand next to her detha on the edge of the mountain cliffs and shout, her voice mixing with Sana’s, and she digs her hand deep into the detha’s feathers as if to steady them both and anchor them to the ground.

But it is not enough, not nearly enough, and soon Miri finds herself taking days-long flights deep into the mountains, returning home in the pre-dawn hours to collapse in her bed next to Nalia’s empty one. Because Nalia is always gone, now, flying across the sea — when Miri squeezes her eyes closed she can almost see her sister pressed close against Senya’s back, a tiny brown-and-gold-and-red speck against a giant blue background, and tears press themselves against Miri’s eyelids. She tells herself it is longing for her sister, the sort of sorrow that comes from realizing that the person you love most is gone for a short time. Miri tells herself that this ache in her chest is the absence of Nalia’s sleeping form next to hers. She’s not so foolish as to believe herself, though, and often her dreams are scattered with wild ocean blues.

And then comes the night when Miri can’t stand it anymore, is convinced that her body will leap free of her skin with longing, and before she truly knows what she’s doing she’s throwing her things into her saddlepack. Sana is ready, as she always is these days, and when she catches sight of the reins in Miri’s hands the detha rustles her wings in anticipation. 

Her mother and father sleep like stones, and they never wake when Miri creeps out of the small dwelling they all call home. So there is nobody to see Miri off, and it seems almost anticlimactic as Sana takes off from the great rocky ledge next to the eerie. The night winds are sharp and biting against Miri’s face, but she has never much been bothered by the cold airs of the sky and she only burrows down against Sana’s back.

The sun sets as they reach the sea, the sunlight refracting almost impossibly bright against the water. And Miri has never seen the sea before, never come this far away from the village, but there is still something comforting in the scent of the sea. She hums a flying song, and it catches in her throat far too many times — she chokes on the words. But Sana calls out her encouragement from below, so Miri starts again.

Off we go to soar the skies
from the mountains to the seas.
But we’ll not go too far, my dear — 
just a ways upon this breeze.

It never occurs to Miri to wonder if, considering all the other promises she’s broken over the years, she might break this one too.

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  • December 26, 2020 - 7:17pm (Now Viewing)

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2 Comments
  • jun lei

    there's something so fleeting and free abt this, like flying & forgetting you could fall. like flying & forgetting that the heavens are not your home. i am always in awe of the portraits you paint of your characters, how they ache and how they love. how so very real they are. thank you for a glimpse of miri and nalia. for a moment burrowed down in sana's feathers. for a flash of freedom & flying. borahaeyo, yeah?


    2 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    This is just exhilarating! Here are my favorite lines:
    "It is simply that she hasn’t quite settled down, yet, hasn’t figured out how to translate the thrill of a wild airborne dance with gravity to something of worth."
    "And then comes the night when Miri can’t stand it anymore, is convinced that her body will leap free of her skin with longing, and before she truly knows what she’s doing she’s throwing her things into her saddlepack."
    Oh, and thanks for the like! It means a lot to get one from you.


    2 months ago