Water trickled from in between the cracks of the fountain, the sun glinting off its surface as it set, going drip… drip… drip… I watched the water splatter into my palm. I never knew how small the fountain could look. I used to be smaller than a soda can, with wings and bright blue feathers. I used to drink from this. I used to fly about the lakes, flip about the treetops and see rainbows in the sun. I wouldn’t think of eating anything other than birdseed. I never saw the world as the big, fast, killing predator. Just the innocent prey. But then… the bullet… a flash of light… then darkness… and I was back. Just… not as a little blue jay. I had become akin to the one who killed me, ate poultry and fish and hamburgers and cheese sandwiches… But normal people don’t remember being killed… or their lives before. They only remember their current life. I stared at the water in the fountain… I could not see the rainbows in the sun. Only the darkening sky. I can’t see anymore. And… a warm glow spread across the water as the moon hit it. I can see again. The woods loom large around me, their shadow and mystery curling around me, holding me close, hugging me tight. I hear my former predators, the night owls, hooting and flapping their wings like I wish I could. I hear the rustling of leaves, feel the light of the moon on my face, and the ground beneath my feet. Maybe tomorrow, I will also feel the wind beneath my wings.
By By Hannah Mayerfield, Illustrated by Matthew Lei