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We never saw it coming, although I suppose nobody ever does. One day you have wings, and the next you crawl.
There was no way we could have known. We were tried, and we were found guilty. I still have nightmares, some nights, the shouts that followed us for days and nights of nonstop running, running some of us had never done in our lives. The blood that marked our path until it stopped, and the tears that kept on going.
She gave us wings; the mob lined us up, one by one, and took them away again. The wings made no sound as they were piled high in the center of the green-paved square, feathers ruffling in the afternoon breeze.
Nobody goes up into the mountains, so we went up into the mountains. These days, we do a lot of waiting. We wait for our next generation to be born and weaned. For this I believe: the wings of our children will be their own. They will hunt through the skies, play in the clouds, alight on the tops of trees. They will bring us news of the world, delicacies from afar, sights to be tasted and savoured on cold nights.
They will not walk, crawl, or beg.
They will fly.
- Leah Bobet, from the short story Displaced Persons, edited by TCT. Used with permission.