Icarus Falling

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
September/October 2011

By Leila Yaghmaei

I awake early
in our small, candlelit prison
a stone tower
high above the sands of Crete.

Father melts hot wax
from his thick candle
dripping it on my shoulders
his gentle hands
press something into place.

Wings!
Giant, feathery white wings
unfolding from my bronze shoulders
I stand in awe.

Suddenly
guards pound on our bolted wooden door
breaking the rich silence
I hear loud shouts of rage
and sharp panic
cuts me like a knife.

A whispered warning
a soft shove
I stumble out of the tall window
nothing to hold onto
and I’m plummeting toward
the ground and armed guards
my heart pounds wildly
I squeeze my eyes shut
waiting
I’m a heavy stone
dropping into the deep
death abyss.

Then
my wings snap up
trapping the cold wind
I glide softly
through the blue sky
I’m alive!

The wind rushes past me
tangling in my black locks
and slapping my flushed face
exhilaration locks away
my thoughts of dark, suffocating towers
and nightmare labyrinths.

I look down
the sea is blue
a deep, glittering mass
of rolling waves
spread forever before me
I skim the cool surface
feeling the tingling spray
breathing in the scent of
salt and freedom.

Behind me
Father whoops loudly
“Icarus, my boy! We’re free!”
I break into happy laughter, and he smiles.
We fly together
father and son
beating our wings
to a lulling rhythm
we claim the vast sky.

I see the sun
a blinding golden sphere
hanging high above
I can reach it!
Up
I soar
higher and higher
leaving Father below
passing astonished seagulls
the sun burns hotly
and my face glistens with sweat
I reach out to the bright light.

Then I feel it
the hard wax softens
in the raging heat
and trickles
slowly but steadily
scalding my bare skin
I’m terrified.

Now I remember
Father’s urgent warning
Don’t fly too close to the sun!
It’s too late.

Feathers
fall around me
drifting away
suspended in midair
I flap my arms desperately
and I scream to my father
the harsh sound of
sharp
chilling
fear
but all he can do is watch
helplessly
the seagulls don’t catch me
in their beaks
and I sink into the
black, icy depths of the sea
all that is left
is haunting silence
and floating
white
feathers.

Icarus Falling Leila Yaghmaei

Leila Yaghmaei, 12
Aliso Viejo, California

About the Author

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