I wrote this for CP, and liked it a bit, so I decided to post it here. Hope you all enjoy!
Word Count: 985
The rustle of feathers and the soft cooing sound of city pigeons.
A little girl’s voice whispered sweet nothings to the creatures as she crouched in the middle of the ocean of grey. She held a handful of breadcrumbs out and the worn concrete of the plaza pulsed with little bodies, each fighting to get a bite of the food.
Blonde curls dancing in the wind and her cheeks dimpled with her delighted smile, the girl looked ethereal. Lost in her own world, she was unaware of the people passing back and forth beyond the sea of birds.
She did not note the entranced gaze of a teenager on a nearby bench.
Miriam stared at the girl, seemingly unable to look away. But it was not the scene before her that she beheld.
“Mommy! Look at me!”
Birds scattered as the childish voice called out. Swirling up, the little girl found herself in the middle of a whirlwind of feathers and beady eyes. The small animals swooped close, near enough that she could feel her hair tangling in their claws.
She laughed, throwing her arms out and spinning with their dance. Freedom filled her soul, though the word was yet unknown to her.
“Miriam! Miriam, be careful!” The woman’s voice held a sense of panic.
The girl stopped spinning and her eyes opened to peer through the fleeing birds in search of her mother. Spotting her, she bounced up and down and giggled.
“Come, mommy! Come and dance!” She waved her hand, then spun around.
She felt her finger catch on something, tugging at her throat before breaking loose with an audible snap and flying away.
“No!” Stopping mid-twirl, the little girl tossed her blonde hair out of her face and looked around frantically. At last, she spotted something glittering on the ground a few yards away and ran toward it.
A large dark shape suddenly swooped before her. Shrieking, she stumbled backwards, then watched in dismay as the ugly black bird scooped up the glittering object and flew off.
“My necklace! No! Come back!” Dismay and determination battling within her, the little girl took off running.
Focused solely on her goal to retrieve her necklace, she was unaware of her surroundings. She heard her mother’s cries as from a distance and ignored them. The bird would not steal from her and get away with it!
When she tripped over the curb and tumbled into the road, she still had no consciousness of where she was nor the increased urgency of her mothers screams. She only knew that the bird was up ahead. She could see him heading for a light post.
It was only the shrill blaring of a horn that jarred her loose from her determined chase.
And the sickening thud that ended her mother’s cries forever . . .
Miriam could feel the poorly healed wound in her heart begin to tear open once again. She closed her eyes tightly, digging her nails into her palm as she had so many times before.
[i]If only I had listened... If only I had let it go... My fault... all my fault...[/i]
She opened her eyes and found herself meeting the gaze of the little girl. Miriam looked into her twinkling blue orbs dully.
[i]If you only knew what pain exists...[/I]
The little girl’s mouth spread into an impish grin, her cheeks dimpling. Despite her mood, Miriam found the look irresistible and gave a small smile back. The grin widened and her little hand beckoned Miriam forth.
The older girl glanced about in confusion. Spotting no one else whom she could have been mistaken for, she rose and made her way through the birds.
“Hello,” she said as she approached. Looking down, she was startled by the child’s resemblance to her younger self. She crouched down so she could converse with the girl better. “I’m Miriam.”
Blue eyes sparkled and the impish smile peeked out of the corner of her mouth. “I know.”
Miriam blinked. [i]Do I know this girl? [/I] She looked around briefly to see if she recognized anyone in the crowd.
The little girl laughed and Miriam looked back to see a bird had landed on top of the crown of blonde curls. Miriam couldn’t help laughing as well.
The sound felt good coming from her throat, she hadn’t laughed in a long time.
Sparkling blue eyes met hers again and the look in them seemed far older than the girl. Little hands fitted themselves into Miriam’s larger ones.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
Miriam felt as if she had been hit in the stomach. Shock left her frozen.
Just then a car horn blared. The birds let out a cry of surprise and, as one, lifted into the air. Miriam covered her face and hair and they swirled around. She could feel feathers against her skin. The sound of delighted laughter rang out through the panicked sound of the fleeing birds.
And then there was silence.
Miriam dropped her hands to look around. A few birds wandered lazily about. No sign remained of the flock there just moments before.
And the little girl was gone.
Miriam clambered to her feet and spun around searching frantically. The plaza was large, there was no place the girl could have gone so quickly.
No little girl.
Her heartbeat sounded loud in her ears. Miriam wandered back to her bench in a daze and sat down hard.
Only then did she realize that she was clutching something tightly in her hand.
Opening her fist, she gazed down at the small, child-sized locket she held.
With shaking fingers, she clicked it open.
A picture rested inside of a laughing blonde girl held close by a smiling young woman with loving eyes. An inscription faced it.
[I]To Miriam, Love Mom.[/I]
Miriam clutched the necklace to her chest as tears streamed down her cheeks.
[i]Not my fault?[/I]
Somewhere in the distance, a little girl laughed.