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Salt of the Air

A story about being wise and overcoming terror and oppression.

Up above, in a cloudy kingdom with treetops as its land, lived an eccentric sparrow known as Joe.

Joe, AKA the Salty Joe, was a kind-hearted and gentle being who happened to have a sharp and correcting manner of talking. This way of being had not only earned him the nickname, but prompted many different village sparrows to go on the tiring quest of trying to change and fix him.

“If only he could be more nice?!” Some said.

In a dreamy afternoon, Joe was flying around playfully with his best friend, Bob.

Bob was a chubby and bubbly creature who had earned the nickname Cheerful Bob. He was quick to laugh, quick to forgive and quick to cover transgressions with his love.

These two sparrows, like Yin and Yang, completed one other. Their attraction towards each other’s soul was so great that when they were apart, they were starting to feel as though they were damaged or doing something wrong. This feeling in turn had blocked their ability to rest and drink deeply the moment.

By the needle-point of the tree top, the counseling session was now in full bloom, discussing strategies to combat this annoying problem. 

“Hey Bob!”

“Hi Joe!” Said Bob while pecking the belly of his friend gently.

“I am very concerned about this issue Bob, I could not sleep. Now since a couple of days ago, I feel like I lack power when I am not with you. Everything just feels better when we are together. I don’t know, something feels lacking. I am supposed to be autonomous and not so co-dependent, and plus my image to the village ladies…” 

The goofy Bob gave out a short and joyful burst of laughter.

“What image?! LOL! No one but Moi hardly talks to you cause you keep correcting them. I actually think it is rather cute that we are becoming such good friends! You know, when I look into the beautiful sunrise morning, my heart gets filled with joy and gladness at the thought of another adventurous day together, and when I look at the beautiful starry night sky, I also…”      

“Oh stop it Bob! Here you are going on another one of your positivity dreamy rants. There is no perfect fluffy future filled with gentle and suffering-free adventures. Life is hard and there is suffering and pain. For example the other day, an eagle kidnapped one of the village children. Other children’s bones later showed up near the east mountain trees. The village detective even said there were signs of torture!”

“Nonsense! An eagle torturing little kids?! I think Mr. Detective has created this illusory scenario to make himself look busy. As the saying goes, look busy, getting fired is coming!

And for many minutes the two friends, being comfortably themselves, without putting any pressure on one another, kept counseling together. This spirit of counsel was the secret source of their power.

They always did everything after a debate, with a unanimous decision and in complete unity. This kind of synergy had magnified their individual strengths when together exponentially, adding up to a staggering sum.

It had gotten so that others also felt this surge of mysterious power emanating from them.

For Salty Joe, the trouble was, people kept coming to him for advice when he was alone and he lacked the ingredients to help them. This had exaggerated his awkwardness problem and now he was even in a more uncomfortable mood with the whole situation.

“Listen, since you so masterfully dissected this problem mercilessly like a frog, exaggerating every tiny piece of its horror, I propose a simple, wise and hopeful solution!”

These moments were what Joe lived for, when little bubbles of positivity would spill over from his friend’s cup and this was rubbing itself off on him, over time making him ever so slightly more cheerful.

“What’s the solution?! Tell me!”

“The solution is…we live close together. I have even come up with a neat idea of a sort of cutting edge communication line; as soon as one of us needs each other, we pull this line and the other one jumps to come to aid…”

And with this brilliant and ingenious idea, the two very special friends, drew even closer to one another’s heart and soul.

***

3 Months has passed since Bob and Joe started to live comfortably besides one another. There was now a certain way of doing things which was established.

In order to respect their friend, each of them went through the habits of each other and all that he possessed, and they got rid of whatever made the other feel uncomfortable. 

“I do not like this red cloth here. I am afraid it triggers my OCD, my CPD, my AD…”

“Woah woah woah, cool it mister! This is not the local obituary you know! Plus, I was getting kind of tired of this gloomy red cloth, tarnishing my perfectly cheerful and fun-loving doorway of entering to another realm and kingdom of peace and calm and everlasting joy…”

At this point professor Bob had to cut his never-ending sentence to catch a breath. Right as the first volume of air was coming out in his abdominal breathing, the communicator started to demand their attention.

“Click, Clack!”

“What is going on Joe?! We are both here!”

Immediately, they flew out of Bob’s humble domain to see the root of this call for attendance.

Mrs. Moonlight was a kindly elderly widow who had lost her husband to trappers. Although the husband was not dead, it was said he is living somewhere as a sort of mating guru in the human world.

Apparently, those pesky humans had created an artificial sparrow creating program. The only missing ingredient of course was the ever so handsome Mr. Moonlight, who was caught unguarded in a restful moment on one of the lower trees in the forbidden zone.

These negative parts of course Joe knew by heart, and he was quick to throw tiny arrows of reminder into most conversations concerning this poor lady.

Bob on the other hand, was quick to point out that Mrs. Moonlight was a 7th generation worm-canning expert, her canned meat lasted twice as long and fresh as the competitor.

Joe had never seen any of these so-called heavenly cans and neither did anyone else in the village, but these words by Bob added a little twist of kindness and love to their interaction with Mrs. Moonlight which he enjoyed.

“What is the problem Mrs. Moonlight?”

“Abigail! O’ my! My little Abigail has gone missing; she went playing and never came back. Do you think the eagle…? Oh no! You…sniff…must help me.”

The poor lady broke down sobbing. Bob gently put his wings around her to comfort her. He took Mrs. Moonlight to a comfortable chair while he had a short counseling session with Joe.

“What should we do Joe?”

“I don’t know Bob, like the saying goes, he who meddles in a quarrel not his own, is like one who catches a dog by the ear. I say we stay sharp and wise and let that legendary detective you were talking about take care of it.”

Bob was now deep in thought. This is called the valley of decision; the cross had come to our two plucky heroes. At this moment, universe opens two paths before you, submission or escape and rebellion.

“Listen Joe, my gut feeling is telling me it will be really bad if we don’t help her. How can we feel good about ourselves if we just let her out of here without at least making some kind of effort?”

“Fair enough, but I say we go and look for the detective for her immediately and we will not promise any further. Once we find the detective, based on his reaction we will have another talk to see what we should do. Like I said, be careful to not make any promises to her and we later get trapped by our own words.”

After hearing this, Bob’s expression lit up, as though a ball of life energy had exploded inside of him. When he got this way, it was because the synergetic connection between these two souls, existing in unity, was at maximum capacity. Joe also received a surge of strength, making him even more sharp and aware.

With a quick tail bump, they confirmed the plan and returned to Mrs. Moonlight. By this time Mrs. Moonlight was in that peaceful yet humbled and broken state after one let’s out all the tears.

“Let me do the talking Bob.”

“Aye Aye Captain.”

“Mrs. Moonlight, Bob and I will immediately go and find the detective.”

As was Joe’s habit, he was very careful to not get trapped by his own words, but this also meant some of his sentences came out woody and dry.

Joe immediately started to fly away followed by Bob. Mrs. Moonlight was still playing a chess game in her head trying to ascertain what was the offer of help she received. But the urgency in which the two sparrows had left comforted Mrs. Moonlight slightly.

She stumbled out of the house in a shocked and traumatized haze. There was a sharp sting in her heart. This morning, her beloved Abigail had asked to play with her, but she had refused because she was busy with a project.

The truth was that this project was some isolated relaxation time and fresh worms in a spot she had found and kept secret. As the day of her death drew near, she was craving more and more isolation. What troubled her the most was not that she said no to Abigail’s offer of play. What deeply mortified her, signaling great incoming pain, was that she had thought of inviting Abigail to her spot and have her play around, while she contemplated the deeper topics of life, thus hitting two frogs with the same stone.

But this thought was quickly ignored, denied and suppressed because she felt Abigail would make her feel a bit uncomfortable.

So in a cruel way, the universe was taking away this discomfort with one masterly swoop, and with such thoughts Mrs. Moonlight tormented herself, sensing an impending doom and the incoming sword of trauma penetrating her soul.

The two friends were now in full action mode.

“Did you check the sunrise quarters?”

“Yes I did. Anything on the west side?”

This was one of the rare times that Bob was serious. All their attention was focused on finding this detective. Now there was a powerful sense of importance and urgency propelling them forward. The window of time was closing.

***

By a large branch Joe suddenly stopped, deep in contemplation. Bob sat beside his friend giving him room and time for a few seconds.

“We have to go look for her Bob, right now!”

Bob looked with surprise and admiration at his friend. He had never heard such a call for action from him. He was used to mostly checks and warnings and other such salty remarks. He nodded in agreement and both returned to Mrs. Moonlight.

Knock, knock, knock!

“Mrs. Moonlight?”

“Hello?”

“Mrs.…”

There was no answer. Bob opened the door and went inside with Joe following him with a worried and serious expression.

Mrs. Moonlight lay motionless on the floor, eyes wide open, with Abigail’s journal, a box of tissues and a half empty can of Moonlight’s special worms. Finally, this poor lady had succumbed by one final blow, to death. She had lost or betrayed all that she loved.

Joe quickly covered his friend’s eyes. There was a look of horror on Bob’s face. Later on, they calculated that about 24% of Bob’s positivity was lost, with this moment of trauma, leaving permanent damage in the psyche of our cheerful friend.

After asking some of the children, they were able to find out that the area Abigail played was in the southwest, just by the edge of the forbidden zone. This said area was marked by 3 tree tops in a triangular shape close to one another; even their medium sized branches had symmetrical geometry. The middle tree was different than the other two.

This had given these 3 trees a psychedelic, or as children would put it, trippy appearance. Some even claimed that they formed a sacred geometry and the place had special powers. Approaching the trippy trees Joe said in a worried tone:

“I have a bad feeling about this.”

“You have a bad feeling about everything Joe!”

“No, I mean it, something is VERY wrong. Listen to me, if something happened, I…”

“Shhh! Nothing is going to happen. We will snoop around and go back and get help if we can’t find her.”

There was no girl by the trees and no one in the village was able to help either.

***

Mrs. Moonlight’s body that evening, as was the custom, dropped down the burial hole to the forest floor with all honors. Although Bob wept, Joe was in a somber and quiet mood and deep in thought.

After the burial, they found out that the detective had retired a few days ago and was no longer accepting new cases. The new detective was to arrive a month later.

The two friends sat on their adjoining backyard looking at the sunset but this evening there were no goofy jokes or uplifting anecdotes from Bob. Joe also did not teach a proverb or give a warning; instead there was silence.

In this strange moment Bob was finally able to peer into the wisdom and the power of his friend. He understood that what Joe had sensed was right; life is full of unexpected moments like today and unwanted pain.

Joe on the other hand was in profound contemplation. All his thoughts could be summed up in one word:

“Abigail…”

“I am going to the forbidden zone to look for her Bob.”

“Are you out of your mind?! There is nothing else we can do. We did more than everyone else in the village anyway. I say we rest after such a rough day, who knows maybe by tomorrow she will turn up.”

“She certainly will NOT turn up Bob. Don’t you get it? This is it! This is the one big life defining test. What we do with this problem will ripple through the rest of our lives.”

After an hour long discussion, each patiently expressing their own perspective, Bob came to the realization that Joe was right, It was simply impossible to go past this cry for help and live with a good conscience.

***

As soon as the unified team passed the border into the forbidden zone, it was as though the universe morphed into a dark nightmarish domain. Bob, who was now even closer to his wise friend for protection, had never felt these feelings before. Death, despair, pain and danger permeated every molecule of the air around them.

“Stay on guard Bob, do not open your heart and internalize what you are sensing.”

“I got it. We can do this Joe! I have faith in us.”

There were no tree tops as the border was on the edge of a mountain. The mountain top could be seen in the distance surrounded by rain and thunder like a foreboding mega statue generating terror in the world around.

“We have to descend and go down to the forest floor, working our way up the mountain to do a complete search.”

With these words warrior Joe and his rock-like loyal friend, descended into the abyss, unbeknownst to them what this arrow of the universe had in store. As soon as they passed the mist and reached the floor of the forest, it was as though a gigantic jolt of electricity has been administered to them in shock therapy.

Below lay a different kingdom than what these two had ever seen. Twisted black thorns, poisonous flowers and a swamp, which was a cesspool of alligators and water snakes, painted a despicable landscape. Predatory eyes could be felt by both our heroes which resulted in Joe issuing a warning to fly a bit higher and out of reach.

As they reached the edge of the mountain, a medium size tree caught their attention with 3 bats hanging from it.

“These 3 look shady as all hell. Let me do the talking.” Whispered Joe.

“Excuse me, we are looking for a young female sparrow, she might have come this way yesterday.”

The 3 sketchy bats gave each other a look of acknowledgment.

“My friends! We have been waiting for you!” Said the tallest of the 3, whose left ear was missing the top corner.

“Waiting for us?! Why? We don’t even know you?” Joe asked genuinely surprised.

“But we know you!” The other two nodded in agreement, it was clear now who the leader was.

“You see, as we were…hmm…playing with the young sparrow, she told us that there are 2 sparrows in the village who hold great power and able to solve any problem. This has interested our great leader greatly!”

“We have no interest in your great leader’s great interest. We would like to have the girl back and we will be on our way.”

“All we want is just a simple conversation with the leader.” Said the scarred bat.

“You are a predator; you want much more than that. I am not stupid.” Joe reacted firmly and sharply.

The eyes of the bat boss lit up with a spark of knowing. The predator has now seen that this prey is a fighter and he bites back.

“Stay here, we will consult the leader. I warn you, to not go past this tree without permission, we hold the girl’s life as ransom.”

The 3 bats flew away, giving off a repugnant odor of rotting flesh and blood as they spread their dark wings. As they headed up the mountain, the longest flash of lightning our two heroes had ever seen, followed by a deafening thunder, cemented this moment of danger and uncertainty in their psyche.

“What should we do Joe?!”

“What do you think we should do Bob?”

“Maybe we should just go along and hear them out? Maybe they are not all that bad.” Bob said with a small gulp signaling that he was starting to feel sick to his stomach from the tightening sense of fear.

Joe was flying back and forward in a straight line as was his habit when in deep contemplation.

Bob patiently waited, himself trying to think. Do not underestimate Bob’s good-natured positivity in the circumstance, my dear reader. Although Joe had taken the reigns in this instance, the love and warmth of his friend supported and encouraged him to be the greatest version of himself that he could be.

“Joe is so amazing! I can’t believe this, all these years his way of looking at life was actually the truth. I have been living in some sort of happy go lucky illusion. Look how powerful he looks, like an ever-knowing sage. I need to just make sure I submit to him and support him. This is his territory.”

With such thoughts Bob waited for his beloved friend. This was part of their secret power; they never tried to change one another, instead giving room and space to be. This had resulted in them fanning the flame of life and individuality in one another’s heart. Thus, they were a source of mutual inspiration.

The mighty Joe was now functioning at maximum potential. Like a wise shepherd pacing back and forth, he looked at the forest floor with foggy eyes as all his attention was paid to the internal thoughts.

“This is more dangerous than I thought. If we go back now, it means we are turning away from saving a life. If we resist, it is clear that we are over-powered. Bob is doing amazing! If I did not have his sense of love, this sickening fear would have crushed and penetrated me.”

After this thought, a flash of revelation went off in his heart. There was a way, a dangerous and daring and borderline impossible way, but a way…

“Submission!! We can submit to them and follow along. This will be the path of least resistance taking us to the depth of the belly of darkness. Once there, we can ascertain based on where Abigail is and what is going on what to do next. We must make sure we have a final counseling meeting once we are at the core of this arrow. Stay close to me Bob, my dear rock-like friend!”

Coming out of contemplation, the two sparrows sat face to face. The tall and skinny and delicate Joe faced his strong and chubby friend.

“I think we should submit to them Bob; let them take us and play along. This is the only way I could come up with, of course if you wish…”

“Let’s do that Joe!” Said bob cheerfully, this precious friend had decided to submit to the wiser one with a whole heart and Joe had decided to submit to this arrow from the universe, but wisely and with a salty attitude.

***

Once the 3 bats came Joe did the talking. He was firm, secure, commanding and strong. A couple of times he even argued, asking details and refusing to be separated. He let them know that a search party will be coming this way soon if they do not return.

When they reached the entrance of the great leader’s castle, which was inside the mountain going all the way to the top, 2 of the bats left, leaving only the imperfect ear.

“My name is Sorrow.” Said the boss.

“Nice name. Really uplifting.” Joe immediately responded.

Sorrow did not like this joke and he scowled.

The gate was a large and masterfully made wooden structure, with different engravings, many of which were bats, snakes, spiders and a large eagle head in the middle.

There were 2 large torches one on each side of the entrance with a cobbled walkway leading up to the stairs going up to the gate. A murky swamp with a few horrific looking red floating flowers was on one side and on the other side was a pile of rocks that looked completely out of place.

The vibe in this place was truly putrid. The grand spirit that could be felt was fear or maybe it is better to say horror, next was a sense of hopelessness, then isolation, sorrow and malevolence.

Bob was now walking so close to Joe that their bodies were touching; Joe kept a calm and serious yet aware appearance that he tried to copy.

Inside the gate was one long windy pathway going up the mountain in a circular motion with torches on each side. What struck Joe was that the pathway had a perfectly round geometry.

“Who can carve a rock like this?! It must be manmade.” Joe thought.

The large gate closed behind them with a foreboding slam. Bob was quietly having feelings of regret. He did not regret following his friend into the belly of the beast. What he regretted the most now was that he did not know how precious the life was that he had before.

Living freely and at peace with Joe, he wished he had expressed his heart more and taken more risks.

“We should have gone to that blueberry patch we always talked about…”

“I should have talked to Joe more, telling him how much I appreciate him and how honored I am to have a precious friend like him. I should have told him that he completes me.”

Bob quietly contemplated these things as they walked up the pathway. All appeared so lifeless and quiet around them. This was not a castle, it was a large ascending dungeon. Because of a lack of fresh air, there was a strong musky scent that made breathing cumbersome.

“Oppression, this is what I feel here. He must be a sick sadist, this great leader. I would not be surprised if the missing children are because of him. And this Sorrow Bat gives off a rebellious and violent energy.”

Joe and Bob did not talk. Bob had made a pact with himself to talk as little as possible. The bubbly sparrow, with one wrong sentence could give away that they are actually very weak and scared.

“The best card in our hand is that they believe we have a special power.” Joe thought as he ignored Sorrow’s scornful look.

“Is it true that all sparrows live happy lives in peace and harmony?”

“Is it true that all bats are like flying leeches?”

Sorrow once again felt offended.

“Why is he doing that?!” Bob was pondering.

“You don’t like me, do you?” Said Sorrow finally falling for Joe’s bait.

“You seem really sketchy, I don’t trust you. So, to answer your question, no I do NOT like you so keep the talking to a minimum. We are not here to be your friends or to have a philosophical conversation.”

“What if I want to have a conversation with you?!” Sorrow now had a mocking and condescending tone.

“His rebellion is triggered, now he will try to talk.” Joe thought but he kept quiet.

“Our leader is quiet fond of sparrows, young sparrows specifically…”

“He is too weak for the older ones I guess?”

At this point, which was halfway in the spiral cobbled pathway, Bob burst out laughing very loud. The pressure of everything going on and the insane fear made him lose control. Joe calmly joined in the laugh and patted Bob with his right wing.

Sorrow seemed very surprised. “They seem strong.” He thought.

In the middle of the pathway there was a circular flat area that had a cell. A variety of different sub-species of bat children were being held in the cage. There was a frozen and shocked look on their faces.

Joe quickly moved forward blocking Bob’s view, he held out his left wing behind him touching the belly of his friend. Bob understood this gesture and was comforted.

“Ran out of sparrows?” Joe asked Sorrow spitefully but with a hint of humor.

“They are not for that they are for the other thing.”

“You enslave your own kind?!”

This reply hit a nerve in Sorrow’s heart and he reacted angrily.

“I DON’T ENSLAVE ANYTHING! I JUST FOLLOW ORDERS.”

“If the orders are for you to enslave, you are enslaving. Don’t deceive yourself.” Joe directly looked at Sorrow and said these words with authority.

Sorrow had now exercised self-control and was taking deep breaths to calm himself down.

“I should not have done that. I exposed my vulnerability by over-reacting.”

Joe started to have a one-sided conversation with Bob. Sorrows ears perked up attentively. He understood that this sparrow was strong and intelligent and that nothing he did was without a deeper meaning.

“Hey Bob, did I ever tell you the dream I had a few nights ago? It was a nightmare actually. I woke up sweating with a gasp. It was so vivid even now the more I think about it, the more the details reveal themselves. It feels like this dream has been engraved in the depths of my being, flowing from the secret inner-chambers of my own heart.

“In this dream I saw myself sleeping on a large and beautiful bed in a majestic room. The bed had 4 wooden pillars in each corner going up to the ceiling. The window was open and the wind was blowing in and shaking the see-through white curtains.

Looking at myself through the hole that opened up, I saw all manner of snakes started to crawl in, many thousands of snakes. All the edges of the hole were covered with tiny snakes dipped in blood. Every once in a while, a really large snake would push other ones away and crawl out. Blood came out through the hole inching towards me on the floor along with the large snakes, as I lay clueless in deep sleep on the bed…”

“What do you think this dream means Joe?!” Bob played along.

“Well I have been thinking about this a lot actually, and coming in here and seeing these enslaved bats and all, that there are some doors in life that when you open, there is nothing but pain and suffering behind them and they will keep coming until you learn to close that door.”

Bob kind of liked this dream and the wise interpretation, and he felt proud of his friend. The rest of the monotonous pathway, there was nothing exchanged but silence.

Deep in thoughts our two plucky heroes, resting under one another’s courage and strength, helping one another like a crutch for a crippled soul, journeyed onward to the belly of the beast.

The eccentric bat was deep in miry thoughts, contemplating on the meaning of the dream he had just heard. The truth was that a smoldering wick of goodness in him, just the tiniest ember of conscience which not even the sadist slave-master was able to quench, tormented him night and day.

“These children are suffering, my own kind…” Their pleading faces begging for mercy haunted him. As soon as he wanted to sit and relax and enjoy himself, these faces were like nails on his seat, poking and prodding him.

“I must not underestimate these two, specially the sharp one.” The seed of doubt had now been perfectly planted in Sorrow’s heart.

By the time they reached the top, the bat informed them that he needs to consult the leader before allowing them to enter. Joe also quickly and pre-meditatedly responded that they also need private time to counsel together, which Sorrow respected by leading to a small room, open on one side only, looking down to the children’s cage and the bottom of the spiral, covered only by a worn-out red cloth.

“The curse of the red cloth never leaves us my friend!” Said Bob with humility and respect as he looked with tearful kindness in his eyes. The theme of his thoughts the last stretch of the pathway was the preciousness of his friend.

Joe on the other hand was deep in contemplation of the meaning of this dark door the universe had opened to them. In addition to this, he was thinking about how grateful he was for this wonderful cheerful soul beside him, the warmth of his presence, relaxed him to be who he was created to be.

“You complete me Bob, my adorable grand master friend! I want you to know how thankful I am for every milli-second I have spent with you.”

“We will have many millions of seconds together still.”

“Listen Bob, I have been thinking, we must not underestimate these people, even this bat, there is something about him. The two best cards in our hands is that they believe we hold a special power, I already enforced this card by showing Sorrow a display of discernment by the prophetic dream, the other card I believe is the guilt this bat feels by imprisoning of his own helpless kind.” Wise Joe continued on.

“We need to be extremely careful once inside to not be nice in any shape or form. Be salty and questioning, ready to talk back. The fear that rules here is so paralyzing, I am certain this ruler has never seen people who do not tremble in his presence.”

“But to be honest with you Joe, I am trembling!”

“So am I, we absolutely should be. We are very close to torture and death Bob, this fear of death is the ultimate enemy, but we must keep our calm for Abigail’s sake. Let us have discretion, hide our trembling and act firm and strong.

This brings me to the other point I would like to make. I have a feeling this great leader is the eagle kidnapping and torturing children and he is most likely a filthy and sick sadist, which means he will try to display his brutality to bait out a reaction and snoop out vulnerability. Do not forget this Bob! Keep your composure even if he shows us the most horrific thing. He will test us, as predators do, to spy out a weak point to manipulate.

Unfortunately, Abigail is our weak point and he knows this. If Abigail is already dead, we must focus all our effort to try to get out of this alive; we will have to play our secret strength card and go along with him, waiting for an opportune time.”

“Yes sir!” Bob jumped forward with both wings open giving his soul-mate an ancient hug.

“I believe in us Joe; we can do this! You and I are a team, let us not also underestimate our own power. You are very wise Joe and I see it now more than ever. There is great might and strength in you, do not underestimate yourself, flow with the wisdom that is within you, leaving room for spontaneity.

You know, I have been thinking too, this is an arrow for us but perhaps you and I are an arrow for Sorrow the bat and his monstrous master. We will pull through this old friend, freely roaming the blue skies once more.”

With these prophetic words, they both started to tear up, which resulted in one of the feathers from around Bob’s chubby belly being quickly plucked, with a low volume “ouch,” to wipe away their tears.

In silence the two sparrows sat side by side facing the entrance, below them lay the desperate children, and in front lay an unknown horror. Together in unity there was a strong spirit of courage and hope upon them.

Unfortunately this wonderful dramatic moment was interrupted by the bat taking his sweet time. Bob anxiously rested beside Joe, while Joe quietly and patiently waited trying to conserve his energy for the challenge ahead.

“Taking a nap, are we?!”

The bat’s tone had changes. There was now a sick amped-up dark and violent energy about him.

“Did the dark prophet give your spirit a boost?” Said Joe quickly in a mocking tone.

Sorrow did not like this joke.

The entrance was not as glorious as the one below, it was a single metal and wooden gate, certainly human made as Joe thought earlier.

The gate opened with an eerie creak, inside was a short hallway, the bottom half was made of stone and the top of engraved wood. There was another metal door with two troches and the two other bats from earlier standing guard.

The fear in the air was sickening. Which brings us to an unfortunate problem, which Joe was very aware that it might cause them to stumble.

You see, the cheerful sparrow had a bit of a weak stomach, especially in regards to any sort of gore and blood. Considering the sick bastard they were expecting inside, Joe was afraid that Bob will let out one of his legendary throw-ups and ruin their whole strong and mysterious wise men composure.

As soon as the door opened this fear came true in full force. Inside the room stood a fully plucked naked but extremely large male eagle, on the stone walls all around lay different trophy sections. There was a bat section, which Sorrow tried to deny existing as it bothered his conscience; there was also a sparrow, a pigeon and close to him an eagle section. In each of these sections lay a torturing chair with chains and shackles and different instruments and tools of the trade.

Each section also had a small cell with only one small child, Abigail included, alive and ready for the great leader’s next pleasurable adventure. The wall and small shelves displayed different trophies, each with engraved date and name and duration of the operation.

Bob, who was actually quite intelligent, which is an area he underestimated himself in, within less than a second processed the scene and let out the biggest gigantic legendary throw up, consisting of whole species of worms, entire fruit orchards and every known delicacy known to sparrows.

What set this throw up apart was the staggering range of the shot. Shooting his load across the room, the helpless Bob sprayed the bat trophy section with some rotten pear, even throwing a little piece of apple on the astonished little bat in the cell. He also threw a couple of worm pieces, one head and one tail to be exact, which landed near the missing corner of Sorrow’s ear.

But the greatest load was emptied on the great leader. In fact, Joe was certain that the universe had brought them there just to deliver this message to the sick-psycho eaglestard and his pathetic helper the batstard.

This was of course the last thing the mighty eagle expected. In the pride of his heart he expected a grand encounter between powerful wizards and wonderful displays of mastery and domination.

After a couple of seconds, all the children burst out with a thunderous roaring laughter, louder than they had just heard coming up the mountain, Abigail who was known to be a goofball in the village, loudest of them all.

The baby eagle pointed his right wing at the great leader and the baby bat his left wing at Sorrow.

“Not what you expected?!”

Said Joe as he approached the vomit-induced eagle, seizing this moment of humility to assert himself.

The great leader was now gnashing his teeth in rage?

“Do you know who I am?”

“I see who you are. A despicable weak creature who preys on little children. You even preyed on Sorrow, who was once a good bat, turning him against his own kind, which he torments himself about night and day.”

Once these words were spoken, the sun also came up to support our warrior hero, shining through the window bars painting a striped light-bathed golden color on Joe and Bob.

Sorrow’s head was down in deep thought, listening carefully.

“I have a message from the universe; your time of reckoning is at hand and I have the sun to confirm my words; your eyes will be plucked out and you will be thrown down from the top of the spiral, landing on the children’s cell below; your mangled, mutilated and blind body will stay there to rot, and there is nothing awaiting you but an eternity of torment.”

With these words, Bob spontaneously cried out:

“Sorrow NOW is the time!!”

And Sorrow, like a master hunter, lunged forward stabbing the great eagle in his right eye; his claw, being stuck by his forward motion, pushed the great leader back throwing him down sitting in the eagle operation chair.

All the years of suppressed rage and the oppression sorrow had endured came out, stabbing the leader all over his face dozens of times, using his one stuck claw as leverage.

As soon as Joe heard Bob’s cry, he quickly moved towards opening the cells.

All this had a background of the screaming vomit-covered and pathetic leader, in deep agony and pain, which was only a foreshadow of what the universe had in store for him. It is a curious thing really, this unjust beast felt nothing but pleasure when he inflicted pain on others, but now that it was his turn, he had a hard time to swallow; you have to be able to take what you dish out.

There was a sort of glory now descending upon the stabbing bat, the spirit of power he possessed now fully bloomed within him with this liberating act of defiance and courage.

There was an overwhelming synergy in the room, our hero sparrows, the young pigeon, eagle, crow and the little Abigail, alongside the two bats standing guard, who were sucked into this vortex of the moment, all lunged forward towards the leader supporting Sorrow in his upward call.

Bob, who was always a gentle giant, now permeated a vicious and aggressive energy as he used all his might to attack the eagle.

After a couple of seconds, Joe started to fly around in circles near the ceiling, looking down at the scene below, with a great smile of victory. The sun, at the perfect angle, shone on all the warriors stabbing the heart of tyranny and oppression, while Joe enjoyed his and Bob’s magnum opus.

Wisdom and hope, hand in hand and in unity, had penetrated the heart of evil.

***

A few weeks has passed since the grand arrow was delivered by our two plucky heroes. Sorrow the bat, who had become a long-distance pen pal, was now spending time in the infamous hard labor bat prison, which had been instructed to take it easy on him because of his redeeming act of rebellion against tyranny.

The goofy Abigail was robbing every second of Bob and Joe’s life, with their full consent and heart’s delight. She was a ball of life with a vibrant and fresh spark, who added to the masterful synergy of our two profound friends.

At a perfect sunset, sat the cheerful Bob and the salty Joe, side by side with the bubbly Abigail, comfortably and with careless ease, showing displays of a magnificent playful spirit around them. As the sun went down, her brush gave one last masterstroke of beauty; and she painted the hopeful horizon, as far as the eyes could see, with red, orange and gold, promising her continual return in the billions of seconds ahead.

THE END

By Ashkan Jafarpisheh – May 2020

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