She dangled her delicately swinging legs over the precipice. A thin plank of ancient wood, strung on both sides by equally ancient rope, and hanging from a branch of an even older oak tree were all that kept her suspended in her perch. Everything below her was swallowed in a darkness ravenously craving to devour the whole world, but she held no fear of the long drop, the aching cold, the unknown depths, or the certainty of what waited for all her kind at the bottom.
She did not have to look down to see the creeping gloom of death inching closer to her with each passing moment. She could hear its whispers caressing her ears and calling her home. It spoke of freedom from pain and responsibility and guilt. It spoke of promises to be fulfilled and happiness unending. And she knew that none of its words were lies. Death was regarded as many things but at the core, unwavering, it was and would always be the truth.
No, she did not look down. No, she did not let the seduction of her future coax her into rushing to meet it. Her gaze and focus were solely captivated by the beauty of the stars swirling far above her head. Her flowing brown hair nestled against her shoulders and back as her chin titled up to take in a wider expanse of the heavens. Each winking spot of light dancing in her hazel eyes held the potential for another life, another of her kind, waiting to be discovered, and waiting to be loved. Each swath of glowing chaos painted behind the stars, illuminating the furthest recesses of the night sky, held the potential for thousands upon thousands more of those winking lights.
The stars and galaxies swirled dizzyingly and all she could do was sigh with glee and giggle. Her wings flexed instinctively as her muscles twitched. Rainbows, born of moonbeams, sprouted from the shimmering membranes and fell to confuse the darkness below. She kicked her legs and the plank creaked into motion, slowly at first, and then faster and faster until her tiny frame was a blur of sparkles spanning the full breadth of the swing’s reach.
Pumping her legs one final time she rushed forward and released her grip on the rope. Her body sailed over the edge and she closed her eyes as the air held her in its loving embrace. It was calm, and peaceful, and a freedom she had never truly known.
She did not fear death. She feared loneliness.
Opening her eyes she looked to the stars again and began to flap her tiny wings. She didn’t know how far she could make it before her strength gave out and she fell, but that didn’t matter. Falling was inevitable. But, before then, she had to see how far she could get. She had to try and find someone else like her.