As promised, here’s a bedtime story I wrote a couple days ago. Like all my bedtime stories, it was written with no planning to speak of. And like all truly heartwarming stories, the protagonist plots the perfect murder at one point.
An Eagle Story
Once upon a time there was an eagle named Fairwind. She was large and strong even for an eagle, with glossy golden feathers and great sharp talons. She was a terrific hunter and small animals feared her shadow throughout the mountains.
When she wasn’t hunting, her favorite thing to do was fly with her friend Lightfeather. They would swoop and dive at each other, dodge through the tall trees, race in circles. Lightfeather was smaller and much faster and always won the races, but Fairwind didn’t mind because she so enjoyed her friend’s company.
One day she saw Lightfeather with another eagle, a stranger she had never seen before. She swooped around them and called out to her friend. “Who is this flying next to you? Would you like my help chasing him away?”
“Oh no, Fairwind of course not!” Lightfeather replied, “This is Quicktalon, he’s my new friend!” She then turned to the newcomer, “Quicktalon, this is my best friend Fairwind, you’d better be nice to her. Now let’s race!”
So the three raced around, and as usual Fairwind was the slowest. But this time it bothered her.
As time passed she saw less and less of Lightfeather, and Quicktalon was always around and Lightfeather seemed to be paying a lot more attention to him than to Fairwind.
The one day she saw Lightfeather sitting in a new nest all alone. She dove down and landed next to the nest and greeted Lightfeather.
“It’s nice to see you alone for a change,” she said happily, “come on, let’s go fly through the trees!”
“I can’t go flying with you,” Lightfeather said softly, “There are eggs in this nest, and I am going to be a mother.”
Fairwind was dumbstruck. She almost fell off the branch. For a minute all she could do was make shocked squawking noises, but finally she found her voice again.
“How could you!” she screamed, “I was so nice and everything and now you’re, you’re…” and then her voice faltered again.
“Fairwind,” pleaded Lightfeather, “This is what I want! I thought you’d be happy for me.”
“Happy for you?” shrieked Fairwind incredulously, “How could you do this to me?” And then, too angry to speak any more, she took to the air and flew away, glaring at Quicktalon who was returning with a fresh kill.
For weeks she was alone. She avoided the nest did, as little hunting as she could, and spent a lot of time sulking. She would catch warm air currents and fly very high, too high to hunt from. She could see all around from up there, and felt completely alone and yet somehow less lonely. But finally she missed her friend so much that even though she was still mad she started flying in the area again. When she would pass by the nest she would just glare if Quicktalon was there, but if Lightfeather was alone she would land and try to talk to her.
She told Lightfeather everything she saw as she flew and hunted, but all Lightfeather had to talk about was Quicktalon, and the eggs, and the places she could see from the nest. Fairwind often got angry and flew away soon after.
If I could just get rid of Quicktalon, she thought, maybe if he was gone things could go back to the way they were before.
One day she was soaring very high, riding an air current that kept her from having to so much as flick her wings to stay aloft. She would have enjoyed it very much, but she missed her friend and felt miserable.
Scanning around idly, she suddenly noticed an eagle below her. To her surprise she realized it was Quicktalon, and he seemed to be flying aimlessly quite high, though nowhere near as high as she was. She looked at him and hated him.
She realized that from up here she could dive on him if she wanted. She was much larger than he, with huge sharp talons, she could take him by surprise, injure his wings and let him fall. She clicked her beak thoughtfully, letting her anger wash over her. And then she thought about how happy Lightfeather seemed to be with him. How excited she was about being a mother, how sweetly she spoke of him.
Making up her mind, Fairwind tucked in her wings and dove. The air rushed through her feathers as she dropped towards her target. Quicktalon was still scanning the horizon, he had no idea she was there. Closer… closer…
She snapped her wings open and pulled out of the dive right in front of him, sending him tumbling with a startled squawk. As he righted himself, she pulled alongside him and glared hard.
“What are you doing up here?” she demanded, “Shouldn’t you be hunting or taking care of Lightfeather?”
“I’m looking for you!” he called back breathlessly, “Lightfeather needs you right away!”
Without waiting for another word, Fairwind wheeled and flew towards the nest as fast as she could. Quicktalon followed, still saying something, but she could not hear him.
The two eagles soon arrived and found Lightfeather sitting on the nest as usual. She flapped her wings excitedly as they came in to land, then hopped up and perched at the edge of the nest.
“Look, look!” she cried joyously. And there in the nest were two eggs, rolling slightly as tiny beaks tapped against the shells.
They watched as if spellbound as first one, then the other broke through. The little chicks looked just like their parents, and looking at them Fairwind felt ashamed of her selfishness. Somewhat sheepishly, she caught Lightfeather’s eye.
“You wanted me here for this?” she asked a little hesitantly.
Lightfeather laughed, “Of course I did! You’re my best friend, I wouldn’t have you miss this for the world!”
Then Fairwind turned to Quicktalon.
“You still came to get me?” she asked, “After all I put you through?”
“Don’t you remember the day we met?” he answered, “You’re her best friend, and I’d better be nice to you.”
Fairwind drew a deep breath, and looked at them as squarely as she could. “I’m sorry.” she said, “I was only thinking about what I wanted, and that was selfish of me. I never even gave you a chance because I just wanted things back the way they were.”
“You silly thing,” said Lightfeather, gently, “things are never the way they were. All you can do is cherish the old memories and make new ones. I forgive you.”
“And I forgive you, too.” Quicktalon added, “I know you just need a chance to get used to me.”
And so the three of them made up, and they all lived happily ever after.
Sweet dreams, everyone. Goodnight.