Photo by Sanews
I was horribly confused. “Did you not come from the Silver Well?”
She shook her head and said with a strange glint in her eyes, “That was the Sacred Well. The Silver Well leads to the other side of the world.”
I asked her, “How do you know this?”
“The bird sang it to me.”
She took me by the hand and we began to walk. The armor was silent now, like the woods. My sister bounced and giggled, sometimes letting go of my hand to pick a sweetly-scented flower. After a bit of walking and gathering, she began to weave a net out of the long stems, tied together like the daisy chains of her true childhood.
Her wild song, hummed under her breath, grew louder and louder as we walked. I finally realized that my sister had not been humming. The sharp music took on a cadence of a dance and it surrounded us like water.
We had reached a clearing. Silver birds sat, ornament-like on the trees around us. They sang a song of such clarity and beauty, a song of knowledge that I wept at, for I could not understand the language. My sister sat down and watched them, rapt. Her hands were the only things that moved, continuing to weave her net of flowers. I cannot say how long we stayed there, distracted from our quest as we listened to the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
With a piercing WRAAAACK, a discordant cry that set my teeth on edge, a huge black bird swept down amongst them. The silver birds kept singing, but tried to move out of the way. It snatched up one, who made a single sound of distress before being eaten alive. It went for another one, a courageous fellow who had attempted to knock it off the branch while it had dealt with the other. This one too disappeared down the cavernous gullet. The beating of its wings made the black bird’s chest ripple as it set upon a third.
My sister yelled something and jumped to her feet- we humans are so very slow when it comes to reacting. She threw up her net and I leaped forward to help her. Between us, we captured the black bird and hauled it to the ground. Once it knew it had been caught, it stopped fighting.
She tied the net closed around it with deft little hands while I watched, my revulsion at the creature making my mouth sour.