literature

TALES: Flight

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    The only light coming into the room was emitted from the old action movies displayed on the television. It lit the room in a cascade of dull colors in rapid successions of the explosion palette. The two bats watching this splendor were lazily sprawled out on top of one another on the couch. Myst gazed on with bored disinterest while Ryne simply mouthed all the words while reading the subtitles in his native language. This was one of Myst's ideas to help teach his friend the common language, even if it wasn't very effective. The fruit bat himself knew he wouldn't be a very good teacher, so this might just be the best Ryne could hope for without the help of a tutor, but that kind of assistance cost money that they simply didn't have.
    This was their lazy Saturday. For hours they sat like this, stirring only when the bathroom called, or a snack needed to be consumed. While it was always wonderful to go for a flight, it was nice to just spend a day lazing away with no task in sight. It was honestly some of the closest activities that resembled days back at the colony.
    "I want a fruit salad," Myst eventually lazily stated aloud.
    "Then go make one," came an equally unenthusiastic reply. There was no clear pronunciation between the two of them which made their language sound like a verbal vomit of squeaks in this instance.
    "I dun wanna," Myst grunted out. "I jus' wanna lay here all day. Watching terrible movies."
    "These movies aren't terrible." There was no urgency in his tone or anger in the air as when Ryne normally rebutted his friend. It was a medium of bliss for the two that was only interrupted by the thud of someone slamming against their door. "Get that," Ryne muttered as his eyes never left the screen.
    "No, you," Myst belched out.
    The brown bat snickered. "Asshole. You're on top." A few more thuds on the door stated the individual on the other side wasn't going away yet. "Get that."
    "Always on top," Myst said to answer no question. He rolled off of Ryne, off the couch, and fell to the floor with a satisfying thump. A groan of pain accompanied his rise to his feet before he stumbled over to the door. "Yes?" he mumbled after creaking open the entrance to his humble abode.
    Standing on the other side, a term being used generously, was a garter snake, looking none too pleased for this visit. She was a tiny thing by most standards. She barely rose up to the fruit bat's waist, and without any limbs, had to slam her head against the door to make herself known. "At least you're wearing pants this time," she grumbled out. The bat was dressed in his usual attire as he always was when he had no plans to leave his dwelling: bright pants and nothing else. The upper body clothing for flyers was just so uncomfortable to wear. It was always so loose to ease flight that it hardly seemed worth the effort to wear it, as it could never stop cool air.
    Myst cleared his throat and straightened himself up, as if his boss had just caught him slacking. "Mrs. Kraspky!? What, uh, brings you here? And might I say, looking good as always." It was always entertaining to him to see the yellow tube of a shirt she always wore insult her green scales.
    "Flattery won't work today, Myst. I'm here to make sure you two are packed and ready, as well to make sure you didn't damage the place." While her words betrayed an idea of friendship, there was an eagerness and sense of delight behind them.
    Myst's ears twitched as he fought to understand the meaning of those two vital words. "What are you on about? Packed and ready for what?"
    Without asking, the snake slithered into the apartment, much to the fruit bat's protest. "You aren't even ready!?" she blurted out in annoyance. "If you two aren't out of here by the end of the day...!"
    Ryne had lazily bent his head upwards to view the two from his relaxed position on the couch; not that he could understand them. "I think I'm a little bit lost," Myst surmised as he shut the door. "Mind explaining from the beginning?"
    "Do I have to spell it out for you?" the snake scolded as she traveled around the room to inspect the qualities of the living space. "This is your last day. You've been given your eviction notice and verbal warning." She stopped this activity to move up to the fruit bat and poke him in the gut with her snout with each word. "You. Are. Leaving."
    "Eviction!?" Myst shouted, his eyes shooting wide. "This is the first I'm hearing of this!"
    "Yes!" Kraspky hissed. "You're three months late on your rent! Sent you letters! I told your roommate personally. You were very well informed!"
    "He can't speak English!" the fruit bat shouted with a finger raised to his confused friend.
    "The crap are you two shouting about?" Ryne's question was quickly ignored in the heat of things.
    "And the letters?" the snake asked bitterly.
    "I...he...Ryne!" Myst changed his language and dropped to his knees next to his bewildered and increasingly annoyed friend. "Ryne, what did you do with the rent slips I told you to deposit, as well as all of our freaking mail for the past three months!?"
    Ryne sat himself up, propped solely on his left elbow. He had immediately taken an angry tone to these interrogations. "You never gave me shit! Just letters that I gave you which you tossed in the damn pile on the counter!"
    "The counter!" Myst shouted as he jumped to his feet and ran with his wings flapping in panic to the kitchen. It didn't take much searching to find the letter with a red stamped 'Eviction Notice' on it, as well as the rent slips from the last few months buried in a pile of junk mail and dirty magazines. "But...! How...!"
    "It is not my fault if you don't actually read your mail," the snake hissed with pleasure. "Now pack up your stuff and get on out. I have to get this place fixed up and get it rented out again."
    "But, no, wait! We have the rent money right here!" Myst shook the flopping rent slip envelopes furiously in front of the snakes face.
    "I already filled the paperwork. We're past this point."
    "But...but...." With a sigh of defeat and a new slump in his posture as he rested his face in his hands, he mumbled out, "We don't have any boxes."
    "I have plenty. You have until the end of the day to be packed and out."

---

    Twisty yawned and stretched her wings before plopping herself down onto the grass under the shade of the oak tree. Why she agreed to do this so early in the morning was beyond her. Oh yes, shame. That was it.
    It was a warm, somewhat humid day that just made everything that much more uncomfortable. At least the cloud coverage was nice, but it couldn't hide the piercing rays of the sun. Sometimes being covered in fur was just a terrible thing. At least the view of the lake from this angle was nice. The slight breeze was somewhat cooled by the water and was the only respite from the heat.
     "A perfect day to fly," Sanny hummed as he patrolled about the shore.
    "Why couldn't we have done this later?" the bat droned out as she meekly sat up.
    "Because it may take all day before you can do this alone." The dragon had turned towards the mammal and lumbered towards her. "Or not. However long it takes for you to learn."
    "Delightful," Twisty grumbled.
    "C'mon, get up."
    "But I'm still tired," the bat complained. She couldn't deny the dread that was rising in her as each second passed, pilling on like smothering blankets. It was a mounting feeling of regret that she even agreed to this, but if she backed out now she might not survive the next encounter she could just fly away from. Nor the mockery from her friends.
    How did she ever get into such a situation she was in? If only Muck wasn't so persistent. It was clear that the wolves were expanding their search for them, and someday those canines would find her house. If she was stuck on the ground when that happened, there would be little chance she could escape.
    "Free falling will wake you up," the dragon commented with a soft nudge of his snout to the resting bat. She buried her face in her hands which hid her groan of displeasure. "We can start with a little warm up. It'll be fun." His tone had softened, as if he had just noticed the trepidation Twisty was hiding.
    "I'm gunna freeze up." She lifted her head from her hands and shuttered at the thought of her flailing through the air in distress. Today will be her fears made manifest. Another nudge on her side forced a whine to escape her lungs.
    "I'll be here by your side the entire time," he noted in his attempt to be as reassuring as he could be. "You'll be fine."
    "Maybe" the bat mumbled as the dragon lowered his chest to the ground and motioned with his head to climb on. With only a sigh as an answer, Twisty rose up and grasped onto the dragon's side and examined his back for the safest and most comfortable spot to settle in. The spines that ran down his back were sharper than they appeared, and made what should have been a simple task of riding him dangerously difficult. Even with that, it didn't take long for her to find a proper spot and painstakingly crawled her way up his side. This little convenience was just another benefit to her more petite frame.
    "You good?" Sanny asked after curling his neck around so he could see to ensure the unenthusiastic bat had found decent seating.
    "Yes, my noble steed," she replied with a weak smile. She gave his side a few pats to insinuate confidence that just wasn't there.
    "Steed? What's steed?" he asked in the uncertain tone an individual would if they didn't know if they were being insulted or not. Slowly, he raised his belly off the ground.
    "It's like..." Twisty gazed up into the sky as if it would fill in the best definition for her, "...a creature that you ride. You, in this case. "
    "You know riding a dragon is a privilege," Sanny responded with small air of pride.
    "I'm sooo privileged!" the bat retorted sarcastically with one hand over her chest and the other outstretched towards the sky. "Dragons sound way too proud." She dropped her arms to her side unceremoniously.
    "Anyone at the hive would rather die than carry around someone they consider beneath them."
    "That's dumb. Your kind is silly, scaly butt."
    "Your steed may just end up dropping you," the dragon retorted with a wicked smile as he unfurled his massive wings. With a few powerful beats and a mighty leap, he had taken off into the sky.
    Twisty had grasped onto his side as best she could as they ascended. How she immediately longed for a saddle to make this task less terrifying. Quickly the treetops shrunk beneath them, and with each foot gained, the realization, and crippling fear, came upon the bat that this was the highest she had ever been above the ground. Her fear paralyzed her thoughts and she held the drake's side with a death grip. "Sanny, I want down!" she squeaked as loud as she could with clenched, watering eyes.
    Either Sanny didn’t hear her, or he was ignoring her. Twisty didn't have the capacity to figure out which at the moment. The dragon leveled out after rising a few hundred feet or so. Despite the bat's shock, Sanny seemed at ease and was even smiling. His chest rose and dropped with each beat of his powerful wings in an almost rhythmic motion. He didn't seem to hear the bat's continued protest.
    Eventually, long after Twisty had given up whining, she dared to open an eye. Immediately taking offense to the stinging wind, her nictitating membrane covered her delicate eye. It was a relief that allowed her to firmly see that they were just circling their side of the massive lake. The other side of the body of water was still difficult to see; only the faint green of the treetops poked over the horizon. This was just casual flight. The realization didn't ease her fear, but it didn't allow it to get any worse, either.
    "How are you feeling?" Sanny asked as he tried to hide his pleasure of this affair.
    "I'm ready for a break!" the bat pleaded.
    He responded with a sharp toothed grin. It's almost like he was enjoying her fear. "Already? We just started."
    "You jerk!" Twisty squeaked out. "I knew you could hear me! I wa-" Her word ended in a shriek when she was flung off of the drake's back. She had taken a hand off his side to point downward, only this created an opening for the strong winds to push against her wing webbing. It acted like a painfully powerful parachute that flicked her off of her flimsy seating. She barely avoided Sanny's bladed tail that whizzed next to her face by mere inches.
    Sanny's smirk was immediately replaced by a horrified drop of his jaw. He furled his wings and dove downward, trying to turn himself around as fast as he could, only a dragons' size didn't make them the most nimble creatures.
    The bat threw her wings out and flailed wildly. Her screams filled the air as the ground began to inch its way closer at an ever alarming rate. She clenched her eyes shut as the wind gripped her wings. So this was it, then? Of all the things she survived, this would be her final adventure? A bat falling to its death. Her mind raced to her family; all those in the colony that she rarely went and visited because she never bothered to learn to fly sooner. What would her friends do with her gone? What would happen to the house? It was all too much to think about.
    "Twisty!" Sanny shouted from next to her not with fear or concern, but seemingly with joy. "You're doing it!"
    She dared an eye open and saw the world passing by below her. It was still getting closer, but now it was a controlled descent. Her wings were outstretched, allowing her to glide along the winds. When did this happen? Sure, she knew how to glide, but those were different scenarios and circumstances. How silly of her. The dragon hadn't caught on to her mistake yet. It might be best if she just saved face and tried her best to play it off.
    "You're almost there! Just flap your wings!"
    She had already tensed up. Her body felt cemented in place. Her heart raced with adrenaline as her cruel fears locked her up, just like every time she had tried to learn before. She was just still so high up!
    "Twisty! What are you waiting for!?"
    The bat never altered or corrected her course. She was heading straight towards the water; a crash she was not looking forward to. An annoyed growl emanated from the dragon a he maneuvered himself below her before it was too late and pushed the top of his head and snout into the bat's chest. As if by muscle memory, she clasped onto his face and wrapped her wings around his snout like a whining blanket. Although near blinded, Sanny managed well enough to land on the sandy shore. Very few sections of the shore had a sandy dune, as jagged rocks or tree-filled grassy inclines inhabited the rest. These spots were some of the more presentable, if still dirty, spots to enjoy the water.
    Twisty immediately let herself drop onto the dirty sand, never before having been so thrilled to once again be a denizen of the earth. She could barely hide her distraught tears from the experience. "I'm not doing that again!" the bat squeaked out from her prone position.
    "You were gliding," the dragon retorted. He took the time to lay himself down on the sand. It was heated perfectly from the sunlight. "That's at least half of the work."
    "No-no-no-no-noooo!" Twisty covered herself with her wings, flinging sand up from the momentum and draft they provided. "No more! I felt like I was going to die! Again!"
    "You glided. You did fine!"
    "No, I did not." Slowly the bat rolled onto her belly and crawled over to the safety she felt the trees provided. "I want to take a break."
    Sanny didn't follow; he simply stared at Twisty as he contemplated the annoyance he felt over this incident. She wanted to quit after the very first run! He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. His grievances weren't going to make this situation any better, but damn if it wasn't difficult to do. "Why do you freeze up?" he eventually asked, his tone forcibly normal.
    "Scaly butt," was her only immediate response. It was muffled as she sat behind her wings to collect herself. "I had difficulty."
    "Everyone does at first. You just keep trying."
    "I ran into a wall my first time trying. It was...really bad. I was out for a while, and now every time I get off the ground I just...freeze up." Twisty gazed over her wings at her draconic friend. Then came a meek, "I'm sorry."
    "Don't apologize." Sanny huffed at her story as he mulled it over. She would have to overcome this fear if she was going to make any progress, and he knew only one way to go about it. "That fear won't leave if you stay grounded."
    "I know.... Just...give me a moment to calm down."
    At least she wasn't going to give up. That made him happy. Now he would just have to wait until she was ready. A good sunbath was in order, if only to help at least calm his own frustrations. He was not the best suited for teaching.

---

    Hours had passed sitting by the tree before Twisty was ready to try again. The results weren't much better, but at least she didn't stop after each run. She was trembling each time, but Sanny was thrilled that she kept going.
    This was to be their last flight of the day. Each time Sanny secretly took her higher and higher. She didn't seem to notice. When the bat was ready after a painfully long delay, she launched herself off of the dragon's back. Instinctively she began gliding, and as she had done each time before, she had frozen up. Sanny was always beside her, tossing out suggestions that always seemed to be ignored.
    As the bat glided over the tree line it was time once again for Sanny to grab her and guide her to safety, only this time, for the first time, Twisty managed to move her wings ever so slightly and began turning back towards the lake.
    The dragon cheered at the sight; an entire day of work finally seeing even an iota of improvement when he had started to believe it impossible.
    Twisty fought her fears for even that little of a victory. It still controlled her, but she was determined to beat it. Her life would be on the line, after all. She would break out if this anguishing mental prison; one flight at a time.
This will be the last for a while. A nice little short to push into the next leg of the series.

Next StoryTALES Shorties: Hike
Previous StoryTALES: Look Alike Part 1

The preview image was drawn painstakingly by :iconannaklava:, which can be found here!
Twisty is of course :icontwooost:
Sanny is of course myself.
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© 2016 - 2021 Sanoon
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