By Melissa L. Webb
The cage sat in the empty lot, like a remnant of a long forgotten civilization. The metal, marred with rust, dug into the barren earth beneath it.
The old cage, bleakness personified, would never draw more than a passing glance; yet, the dark fluttering within pulled at me.
As I ventured into the lot, my feet followed the cracked brown earth below me. Making my way closer to the cage, I was surprised to see a small grey bird hopping madly inside.
Its dark eyes locked with mine as I stepped in front of the cage. Chirping loudly, it voiced its terror, beating its wings against the wire bars.
How had this bird come to be here? The cage was obviously a throwaway. Discarded remains dumped long ago. But the bird? It was locked away recently.
Who would do this to a helpless creature? My eyes darted around, quickly looking for someone to blame, but I was alone. Just the bird and I.
I peered closer at the bird. Its wild eyes once again beseeched me. I seemed to hear its erratic heart. Each beat crescendoing louder until it seemed it would shake itself apart. I didn’t know how this bird happened to end up in the cage, but I had to free it. It was the only choice I could make.
“Shh,” I whispered as I leaned closer. “It’ll be okay.”
The bird squeaked again, its wings beating even harder against the cage.
“You’re safe now,” I spoke as I pried up the door. The metal squeaked in protest, evidence of the neglect it had been subjected to. The bird’s wings slammed the cage, shaking it from side to side.
Once the door was open and its freedom imminent, the small grey bird quieted. Certain tranquility descended upon it. It cocked its head and studied me with condescending eyes. A smug look etched its face.
It stared at me a moment longer before opening its beak. “The storm is coming,” it spoke in a cold voice that chilled my soul. Then, with a flourish, it once again unfurled its wings and shot out of the cage, soaring high in the sky until it was nothing more than a dark speck.
I looked around me, shivering in the hot sun and wondered how long I had until the storm’s arrival.
© 2011 Melissa L. Webb