Wilunitus: Will of an Eagle Heart of a Dove
In a dark, rain soaked forest a sudden flash of bright lightening revealed a lone bird scratching and fretting in the night. Trapped in an old wooden cage the frantic creature found himself fighting for his life as he plunged into a drastic free fall, down the side of a steep embankment. Bouncing off stumps and rocks the cage and petrified occupant tumbled to the bottom of a steep embankment.
As the wooden prison slowed slightly, the bird took a deep breath and attempted to lick his wounds. The cage suddenly shifted again, slid in the greasy mud, and spilled over one last cliff. The fall was short but the landing sent an instant shock through the birds’ whole body. The cage has fallen into water! Deep water! Fast moving water!
Rains from the storm had swelled the stream to twice its normal size and the cage and bird were rapidly becoming part of it. The bird was terrified. He wrapped both wings around the bars of the cage and held on for all he was worth. Soaked and bruised he rode the stream all the way down to its mouth where he was dumped into the frosty, black waters of a lake being battered by the worst storm seen in moons.
He sighed with relief. The waters of the lake although terrifying in their own right did not have the fury and uncertainty the stream had held. He bobbed up and down in the darkness and strained to catch his breath. Suddenly, something rammed his cage and dipped it into the cold water. What now? He asked himself. Is that a boat?
At first his thoughts were of rescue but when he realized that was unlikely he came to the frightening conclusion that it had to be – Them! When a second boat slid by he knew he was right. Through flashes of lightning he watched as the transfer was made. One boat departed, while another was left behind.
As lightning knifed violently through the squall it illuminated the ghostly outline of one solitary boat being ravaged by the lake. The lonely craft bobbed cruelly in the waves leaving no doubt its lone passenger was doomed. A sudden flash of light and deafening thunder brought the boats occupant to his senses. The poor boy on board felt this was worse than anything he might imagine and he began to cry anxiously out into the night.
“Saul! Saul! What have I done?” as if his lost friend could possibly hear him now. His eyes intermixed with tears and rain and he found himself standing in the boat yelling desperately for his friend.
“I was wrong Saul!” he cried out. “I was wrong to doubt you and now I fear I’ve have killed you. What have I done?”
“Never mind what you’ve done!” screeched a phantom voice from the raging gloom. “I am more concerned about what you can do for me now!”
The boy’s heart jumped and he sat down rapidly. “Am I hearing things?” He asked himself out loud in a shivering voice. “Could that be Saul’s ghost, out there in this mess?”
“Well, don’t just sit there staring off into the mess,” the mysterious voice continued, “Lend a hand boy! Help me up out of this water before I am completely swamped.”
He peered cautiously out over the side of the boat again. Just then, a great clap of thunder triggered an immense explosion of lightning that seemed to light up the whole lake. The boy spotted him. A lone bird in a wooden cage bobbing recklessly in the spiteful waters. As his mind asked a thousand rapid questions as to how the bird could possibly be here, the voice spoke again.
“By the Great Eagle, boy! Get over here and help a frazzled bird! I’m losing the battle out here!”
Without further thinking the boy began to rock the boat to try and manoeuvre it in the waves. It worked! He was able to get close enough to lean over, grab the cage and pull it up.
“Saul!” he cried out. “What are you doing out here? Are you all right? I am so glad to see you, old bird?
“Humph!” sputtered the bird, “You and I have a lot to talk about!”
“Oh, I know Saul. I am so sorry. I was so wrong… I…”
“Never mind boy. We have more pressing matters to attend to such as the fact that you appear to be sinking!
Sinking? In the boys preoccupation with all that had been happening he had neglected to pay attention to the fact his boat was taking on too much water. In momentary desperation he sat down head in hands.
“It is no use, Saul,” he gasped. We are doomed. I see no way out of this.”
“Get a hold of yourself, boy!” scolded the bird. “Help me out of this cage!”
The boy tried disparately to open the cage but it was no use. They, had not been concerned with letting the bird out once he was in. It was designed for permanent occupancy and the wood was far too strong for the boy to budge with his cold, numb hands.
“Maybe I can jump on it Saul,” the boy suggested.
“That won’t be easy to in your predicament,” replied the bird.
“We need another plan and we need it now!”
“Can we reverse this Saul?” shouted the boy.
Reversing things was a method they both had used with some success to solve problems. It simply involved looking at the problem from a different angle to help with a solution.
“My, my boy, we really are getting mileage out of this reversal business are we not? “replied the bird. “However, I must confess once again it has given me an idea. It is a long shot but we may have no choice. Boy, you have to trust me now and do exactly as I say. Can you do that? Time is running out boy so just nod your head and agree please?”
“What do you want me to do,” he asked.
“Start rocking this boat!” Saul bellowed. “Rock it back and forth with the motion of the waves!”
The boy did as he was told. He was too cold and wet to argue. However, as the boat began to rock aggressively back and forth it appeared certain that the vessel might capsize.
“Why are we doing this?” shouted the boy. “If we go into the water we are for it. This lake will swallow us up.”
“It will swallow us anyway, boy!” countered the bird. “Don’t you see? This boat is sinking! Now trust me boy this is our only chance. Rock this boat with all of your might! When it topples over grab the cage quickly and jump into the water!”
The boy began to rock the boat and with help from the cresting waves the vessel took on its own energy and swayed aggressively beneath its terrified occupants.
“I hope you know what you’re doing bird,” screamed the boy, “Because here we go!”
The boat rose rapidly and toppled over throwing both boy and cage into the icy waters. Both disappeared beneath the waves leaving nothing but swirling wet darkness. Then all at once, both boy and caged bird popped up to the surface gasping for air!
“Swim for the boat, now!” sputtered Saul, spitting out lake water. “Don’t lose the boat.”
As more flashes lit up the lake, the boy could see the boat had capsized but was still afloat. He knew if he didn’t get to the craft quickly it would drift away in the swirling waters. Dragging the cage beside him he swam with all he had. Reaching the boat he grabbed on and rested. He was breathing hard and spitting water but the bird did not let him rest long.
“Listen carefully and trust me!” screamed Saul. “Push my cage beneath the water, across and under the boat. Do it quickly, in one motion with as much force as you can!”
“But Saul. I don’t…” the boy pleaded.
“Trust me, please!” demanded the panicking bird. “We won’t last much longer. When you have me beneath the boat, then duck under and join me.”
The boy did not get it at first. Fear gripped him with momentary paralysis as he pondered their circumstance. His deduction was swift. They needed some sort of action and they needed it now! He plunged both bird and cage through the water with all his might and forced them under the boat. He held on for a moment catching his breath.
As the cage disappeared under the frigid waters the boy was overcome with a sense of loneliness and panic. There was nothing more for him at that moment but to join his friend. In he dove! Lightning struck again illuminating a morbid and most dreadful scene. A lone overturned boat at the mercy of a ruthless lake, on a night not fit for any living thing. Yet under the abandoned craft, things were very different.
As his head bobbed up through the water under the boat the first thing the boy heard was the bird cheering him on.
“Well done my boy! Well done! You had me guessing there for a moment.”
The boy could not believe what was happening. He and Saul were now under the overturned boat. It was quiet and peaceful under there, and even a bit warm. Stranger than that though, was the fact that they could breathe under there. There was a trapped pocket of air under the boat.
“How can this be, Saul?” he demanded. “There is air under here!”
“Yes, there is boy” replied Saul, “and no storm. I am not certain how long we can stay here, but it buys us some time. Now see if you can climb up and position yourself under the middle seats. You may be scrawny enough.”
The boy did as the bird suggested. He was able to get his head and shoulders up through one seat and lifted his legs up on to the other. Completely out of the water he relaxed for a moment then called back to his friend.
“I am there now, Saul.”
“How is it?”
“It is a little uncomfortable but better than the cold lake.”
“You now are the furnace in this little establishment boy,” the bird explained. “The boat will trap a little body heat from you, so that maybe we can warm up a little. I feel better already. After a moments silence the boy spoke up again.
“How long can we stay like this?”
“No telling,” answered, Saul. Try and rest a little. I will stay awake and keep watch. If it is getting too stuffy I will wake you.”
The boy could not see the bird but in their own little world beneath the boat there was a certain relief in hearing his voice. So much had happened to them over the past few days that even the small comfort of this bizarre port in a storm had its merits. Though the boys exhausted body became motionless, his restless mind drifted far beyond the cold lake, away from the relentless storm and back to where this had all begun – not that many moons ago.