Continued from last week…
“If you are ready,” the girl said at last. “Please. Sing.”
The lark opened her beak and even after months of silence the song burst forth as true and beautiful as ever. The girl’s eyes widened as the lark sang her longest, sweetest song. Her last song. As the feathers on her neck began to stiffen the lark saw the girl reach out and entwine her fingers in the lifeless ones before her; the girl whose heart was as pure as the first snow of winter .The lark thought of the girl’s courage and the strength of her love. She thought of the life she was saving and her own selfish one and felt such a strange mixture of joy and sorrow.
As the last notes of her song died in her now wooden throat, the lark saw the girl release the hand she had been clasping and bend down and kiss his arrogant mouth. That was the last thing the little wooden bird saw before her vision clouded over. That and a flash of blue: the bright, clear sky.
The first thing she heard was a tiny crack. Then another. And another. The lark opened her eyes and stared into the gloom of the woods. She felt the wind ruffle her feathers and looked down in surprise. She was no longer a wooden bird. Pieces of glossy wood lay all around her like a broken shell. The lark flapped her wings once, twice and then she was flying, soaring into the air. She flew up into the dazzling blue sky, swooping and diving and singing for joy. Beneath her, the Great Tree rustled its leaves, calling to her. The lark perched on one of the huge branches and rubbed her soft face against the knotted old trunk.
“Thank you,” she said, “for everything you have done.”
“I did nothing,” said the Tree. “You brought yourself back to life, and someone else as well.”
“I made him better then?” cried the lark happily. Then she remembered the girl and felt a pang of sorrow.
“What about the girl?” she asked.
“I do not know,” said the Tree. “Why don’t you find out for yourself?”
The lark nodded. “Yes. I think I will.”
The Tree bent its branches and the leaves caressed the lark.
“Good luck, little bird,” it said. And then with a final creak of its boughs, it straightened up and spoke no more.
The lark bid goodbye to the Great Tree and flew off to find the girl. She was sitting on the river bank, making a garland of daisies. When she saw the lark, she dropped the flowers and held out her hands.
“Lark! Dear lark!” she cried, kissing the soft feathery head. “I thought I had lost you forever. You turned into a little wooden bird and I finally took you back to your home in the woods.”
The lark tittered happily.
“I have a long story to tell you,” she said. “But first, how is your love?” The girl smile sadly.
“He is not mine anymore,” she said, “but he is alive and well. And he is happy. Thank you.”
“But what about you?” the lark asked sorrowfully. “What will you do now?” The girl thought for some time.
“I have always wanted to travel the world, learn new things, see the wonderful places,” she said. “There is nothing to hold me back now.”
She looked at the lark. The lark looked at her. And in an instant they both knew what they wanted.
So they set off- the girl walking along the road, carrying her few belongings, the lark circling overhead. They sang and laughed, told stories, made new friends and saw the world. But whatever they did, they did it together. Always together. And sometimes, the lark remembered the Great Tree and how it had wished her good luck. Perhaps it knew that this was what she would choose.
The lark had not said a final farewell. She did not need to. Because she was sure it could feel her heartbeat as well as she could feel its own.
A story by me
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