Feather Child

Feather Child 1 - Lucy Glendinning

                                                            "Feather Child"

He promised that it wouldn’t hurt.

I said yes. Of course I did. What mother wouldn’t want to give her child wings?

There had been flaws in the process before. Wax was a lightweight medium, and a sacred one, but prone, too prone to melting. You know the story of the boy who fell from the sky.

That would not be my son, I swore it.

Has there ever been a mortal who swore anything, who did not hear the gods laugh as the vow was made?

Feathers do not grow from underneath the skin of human children, nor do wings burst through their back. Feathers must be placed in their new home, anchored in skin, fed by the blood that runs beneath.

He promised that it wouldn’t hurt.

But I heard my son, my child, weep as the feathers were set in place. Not with wax, but with words. Fiat. Made flesh. I hardened my heart, because this is what was must do, if we want our children to fly. We must be hard. We must hear them weep, and not dry their tears.

Becoming hurts. Growth does not come without pain. Still, I am weak, and I turned away. I did not watch.

When it was finished, the inventor called me back in. Something had gone wrong, he said. Not with the process, no, that had worked perfectly. My son was covered with feathers. He was beautiful. He was dead.

Curled in against himself as he had been when I carried him, this was a birth that had gone still. There would be no flight. Forever earthbound, he would not go any nearer the sun. There is only even one ending to this.

He promised that it wouldn’t hurt.