The lone figure sat in damp tundra, ankles crossed in a sloppy Indian style, at the edge of the deep green blue river, swirels of water broke the placed surface just feet below her, betraying how dangerous its seemly calm waters were. Her hands lay palms up on her thighs, lax and fingers dirty as she sat gazing blankly at the river, features slack with her head cocked slightly back and to the side.
She jumped, then turned her head to the right, only to hear the laughter of her ‘friends’ and hear the soft whispers of just how strange she is, and quiet wonders why she was alone, on the edge of the river. Mumbling to herself, she turned and put her hands on the ground, grunting softly, she pushed her self up, rump first, he knees ached even though she had grew up and lost her childhood weight, she still carried herself as if she had a second body wrapped around her person. Standing, she looked at the snickering former members of her school days, the same people she had been with all her life, school was out, they were adults. Looking at their smirks and soft words hidden behind their hands, she tried to remind herself that they were all grown up, but it still felt like high school. Turning, she started walking off into the woods, heading for a hidden trail that would take her to her ATV, parked off in the woods, safe from prying eyes and the rest of the village.
“Hay.. Where… are you going? …” she didn’t bother answering, they didn’t think much of her… she didn’t think much of them either, she was strange in their eyes, she couldn’t change their minds now, rubbing her dirty hands along her baggy jeans, she pushed her tangled hair out of her eyes and disappeared threw the thick brush, nats buzzed her eyes and ears as she tried to ignore the sounds of dissapporvial at the dissapparance of their latest object of amusement. Tried to block out the stinging words as they agreed that she was weird without bothering to keep her from hearing them.
Unhappy, she mumbled intelligible to herself again before she paused and looked up as a gray jay that clung to a branch just above eye level, let out a scolding cackle, its beady black eyes glinted darkly as she inched closer, she was slow, human slow as she reached up to snatch at the bird, seconds too late, the bird jumped out of reach with a flutter of its wings and lit on another branch as it let out another, almost joyes scolding cackle, smiling she mumbled again before she reached out and tried to touch the bird again, this time it let her poke its chest before it flew away, wings brushing her fingers in a breef contact of wild freedom, and for a moment her heart flew with the bird before landing achingly back in her chest as it flew away, taking with it, her pain from the earlier contact with her own kind.
Sighing she climbed on the stinking hunk of machinery and turned it on with a roar, in seconds she had the mechanical monster growling and was out of the trees and onto the main road that led away from the river, leaving behind those “friends” that had parked for a day of fishing, and ruining her… gazing. She had never been part of the village. She doubted now, seeing as she just spent 3 years sense graguation trying to find her place in the world, that she would ever be accepted. Leaving behind a telltail dust cloud she headed in a direction that would have had people thinking she was going home, and headed for a secret trail that led into the burn and would insure that she would be alone.
The trip took just minuets with the machine that was far supperer then many of the others around the area, one that people could hear for miles off, but she was useto it… and loved it. Reaching a hill, she sped up a trail, she parked at the top and gazed out over the entire area. She could hear the rivers rapids and see for miles. Turning to look back towards the village, she wondered at the meeting the elders were going to have. Everyone was invited, but only those who everyone felt comfortable with, accually were invited. Sighing softly she looked down and wondered alittle at how it would be to be part of the meeting, nothing much happened, usually it was just a gathering of clan and family, to tell stories and share a meal while the adults spoke of adult things while the kids ate, played or slept.
She was hungry, and she wanted to listen, she knew they were gathering, they had been gathering all day, she could feel it, turning to look at the sky, she watched with her weak human eyes and thought she seen movement in the distance. She was hungry.. And she was going to listen. Without really thinking about it, a female goshawk lifted into the air, her red eyes spotting a artic hare moments before the animal gave a short squeak of surprise before the bird began feeding.
Gliding in, she flew over the wooden structure, it resembled a large Indian longhouse rather then a Alaskan sod house and noticed the smoke from the wood fire rising up from the rather large square in the center of the roof. She could hear the muted voices and noticed that there were no more incoming or outgoing people, feeling a tinge of fear and a muted shiver of excitement, she gently lit on the far end and slowly made her way closer to the opening. Pausing frequently when she thought she could understand some of the hummed voices, ready to stop just far enough from the hatch to hear what they were saying, though each time she had to inch forward again.
Carefully lifting her clawed feet and inched silently even closer to the opening when she couldn’t understand anything they said. After a time she reached the edge of the hatch and leaned forward to peer into the shadows when she stumbled and found herself tipping forward as her form left her, reaching out, she tried to stop herself only to have the edge of the hatch gave way under her weight. Grunting in fear, she tumbled forward threw the opening and landed face first in the middle of the dark interier, knocked breathless and stunned.
She squeezed her eyes shut past the stars that flashed before her eyes as she gasped only to cough a moment later on the dust she breathed in, lifting her head she blinked into the darkness, finally noticing the stunned silence that greeted her. Silence buzzing in her ears like a deafening roar, she pushed herself up slowly, gazing around at the surprised faces and relized nearly the whole village had joined the gathering. Unable to change and in the middle of an entire village that had just witnessed the impossible, she gazed around helplessly, afraid of the looks she was getting from the people around her, before she spotted the offending bone belt being held by the only person who had never had a problem with her when she was younger.
The only person who had never made her feel the outcast, her only friend in the village was now running the bone .. rope.. threw his hands slowly, mindlessly working his fingers over the aged brown bones and hair, bits of fur and string, as he gazed at her too in stunned silence. Moving to her hands and knees, she crouched gazing at it trying to make sense of what she was seeing when she relized that it was strong magic, reaching out, she ripped it out of the scarred hand of the elder and with a swift movement, grabbed a line that was above her head and attached it before she threw it out of the hatch. Looking around quickly, she made eye contact with her friend, the man. Elder, father, they called him, She called him, now she knew why.
A moment later, a red eyed female goshawk lifted out of the hatch and flew out of sight, taking with her, the bone necklace attached to the long line, long enough from her to keep her from changing… Change… that had happened the moment she fell threw the opening, sprouting feathers on her hands and red eyes…. How was she ever going to explain this.