Madeline L. Stout
Glass Valkyrie Studios

Birdcage: Flash Fiction

Written By Madeline L. Stout 12/8/2015
She had screamed and tried to sink as far into the corner as she could. Still they came with clasping hands. She screamed and yelled to no avail. She pleaded with her parents to make them stop. Yet, they were helpless then, just as they are now, lying cold in their graves. They were the only people who could release her, and now she was condemned to go back.

   Her heart was beating so fast that she feared it would break her chest in two. She never liked to think of herself as one to scare easily, but she was afraid now. She feared this more than she had feared anything else in her entire young life, even more than facing life alone. Alone was not so bad, but being locked away was her fear. She feared the cage like a bird did. She wanted to be free and fly as they did. Even if she had to fly far, and even if the wind was against her, she would fly.

   She looked up through her tree of comfort and to the ever darkening sky.

   Yes, she would fly. She may fall once she had ascended into the clouds. Yet, if she fell then she could at least say that she fell while she was free. Her feet trudged forward, sliding in the mud as they did. She never took her eyes from the sky. The clear sky beckoned her, although it was merely an illusion.

   She looked out at the horizon. Her life lay there. Not back in her crumbling home where she watched her parents die. Not locked away because her mind was different from others. Her heart slowed as her eyes set themselves on the distance. Yes, she would be fine. she may be alone, but she didn't care. She would go away, far from here where no one knew her, and they would never find her again.

   When they come for her all they would find would be a crumbling memory and the crumpled letter on the floor. She would take nothing with her. She didn't need anything. She smiled to herself. She swore the Sun peeked out from behind the clouds.

   “It's OK Sun…. you don’t need to be afraid. I’m not… but it's alright if you don’t want to be seen, I get that too. You’ll come back when you’re ready, just like me.”

   She walked on and the birds in the trees around her sang and flew up in the sky. She smiled, for she knew that one day soon she would fly with them. For no one could cage a bird, and no one was going to cage her either.


 
The wind blew hard as the girl ran out of the unstable wooden structure that she called her home. Crimson skirts swirled around her legs as she ran. Water streamed from her eyes. She found herself wondering if it had already begun to rain, not realizing that they were her own tears. She raced for the trees ahead of her. Somehow she thought that if she could just reach them, then everything would be alright. It was a foolish hope, but a hope she had nonetheless. She tripped on a stone and stumbled. Her arms instinctively reached out in front of her like a blind man, searching for anything to stabilize her. She landed hard. A strangled sob left her as she stared at the ground. She lifted her hand and looked at it.

   Blood…

   The dark crimson shocked her numb mind.

   “No!” She cried as she pushed up from the hard, cool dirt and back onto her trembling feet. Again she ran. She locked her eyes onto the trees once more. If she could just get to the trees… Stretching her arms out in front of her, she picked up speed.

   Almost…

   Finally, her fingers touched bark. The wood was coarse and hurt her injured hand, but she didn’t care. She had reached safety. She slung her arm around the tree and wrapped it in a tight embrace. Her arms were nowhere near wide enough to encompass the whole tree.

   “Please…. please don’t let them take me…”

   Her family was gone, and she had come to terms with that. Her home was crumbling, and yet she could handle that too. She was strong, and she could make it. What she could not handle, was what she had just found in that room.

   The letter, a criminal in her mind, still lay crumpled up on the floor inside. Her fictitious aunt, the character she had so meticulously created to retain her independence, had been found out and soon they would be coming. They would come with their white coats and their chains. Once again she would be taken, and this time she knew she would not be returning. Her mind flashed to the last time the white-coated men came for her.