Longspur // Part V


Hello people!  So, are you bored yet? One of my biggest fears in writing a short story is that no one would read it… but I’ve heard some great feedback, and am so thankful with those of you who have stuck with me thus far.

If you’re just joining us… this is #12days1story! So far, we’ve given away a fashionABLE scarf, Annie Williams leather, Art by Anna Bost, and a handmade clutch by Lydali. Tomorrow, we’re giving away something delicious that all Nashville folks aren’t going to want to miss… seriously. Here’s a hint.

But for now, we’re moving on in the story, Longspur. 

Part I // Part II // Part III // Part IV



All was confusion, as birds wildly chirped in excitement. The exasperated mother bird explained to Madame Billow that one of the contenders had purposefully stolen the seed from her nest, and Billow laughed off the accusation as “superfluosity.” Cal and Magda looked to each other with uncertainty, then both looked at Doren. The mother bird quibbled and squabbled and looked absolutely distraught.

“I saw it happen, Madame Billow,” Doren interrupted, boring into Magda’s face with conniving eyes, then turning to Cal as if to indicate that he was the offender.

The chirping and tweeting got louder and all was out of control. Cal started to speak up, but then stopped. Doren wouldn’t let him out of his glance. At that moment, Cal knew exactly what Doren had done. “I’m the perfect scapegoat,” Cal thought, raging inwardly. Doren’s sneering eyes looked victorious, and more than ever, Cal felt utterly alone. “Who would ever believe me?” he thought.

“I saw it happen too,” Magda said, entering the fray. Doren flipped his head toward her in anger, and found her eyes locked permanently on the puffed up bird at the center of it all. “It wasn’t Cal.”

“Well who was it?” Madame Billow asked impatiently of the mother bird.

“Oh, I just don’t know,” she said, hopping up and down like the ground was hot—which it wasn’t. She looked from Cal to Doren and back again. “It all happened so fast. You know, you birds really are quick!”

“Well?” Madame Billow looked back at Magda and Doren. Cal stood still as a statue, worried that any misstep might convince the rest that he should be eliminated. All of the sudden he longed desperately to stay in the competition—if nothing else than to eliminate Doren.

The noise grew louder and Madame Billow rolled her eyes, frustrated that the truth had slowed the progress of her very productive day. The first challenge, and already these fledglings had thwarted her perfectly laid plans.

“This is exactly why I never think fledglings should compete for Captain,” she spit on the ground in disgust. “Obviously, this flabbergasted flier can’t identify the thief,” Madame Billow hurumphed, then looked to Magda and Doren. “And you two seem utterly dumb!”

She flitted up to a towering perch, and triumphantly called out her decree.

“Whatever the issues here, we must continue our competition. The position of Captain is much too important to stall on account of one measly seed,” she said. Madame Billow looked almost terrifying from her height. “And you, Mr. Longspur… well. This must be your lucky day!”

Madame Billow turned and released the mother bird, succinctly, professionally, with a formal apology for “the horrible inconveniosity,” and with the assurance that food was on the way. “Or, rather, we’re on the way to food! Which is exactly what our next competition is all about.”

Orientation, Madame Billow said, was even more important than scavenging. “If you move the right direction, the food will always appear,” she laughed, slapping her white belly feathers. But her pupils didn’t laugh along, and Madame Billow cleared her throat and went back to her commanding, wobbly voice.

She explained the rules. Each competitor would be blindfolded with a green-weaved leaf, strapped to the back of another bird and flown up, down, this-way and that, before being released. At that point, they’d need to find Madame Billow at some undisclosed location due South. The birds were cawing and laughing and excited. Cal saw Trudy’s feathers fall limp, but he let all the energy fuel him. Cal felt ready for this task. He’d done it before.

It was in the summer, with his father, before the accident. That day, clothed in radiant sunlight, Cal climbed on his father’s strong back, blindfolded. Together, they flew wheeling, turning, catapulting all across the vast green expanse. Whirling and laughing, Cal felt dizzy, and his father gave clear instructions. “Okay Cal, when I snap the blindfold, find the wind. Always find the wind.” The heat was heavy, as the General snipped away the custom-made leaves over Cal’s eyes. “Find the wind.”


Cal was jolted back to the cold, grey thicket by the ugly voice of Madame Billow.

“I’m ready,” he said. He took in a deep breath of cold air, and stepped forward boldly, leaving the shaking Trudy and sneering Doren behind him.

“Well, it should be simple enough,” Madame Billow said. “Especially if your friend here, doesn’t make it all too difficult.”

Madame Billow moved to the side, and Cal’s eyes grew wide at what he saw.  In front of him stood two pointed feet with sharp grey claws, and a wall of feathers, silvery and slick. Slowly tilting his head upward, Cal swallowed deeply and felt a pang of regret. This wasn’t going to be so easy.

Special thanks to Q Avenue Photo today for this beautiful picture! They’re the excellent photographers who captured these pictures of our backyard, too. 

Tell me what you think of today’s installment? We get our first glimpse of the General, and a deeper look into Madame Billow. Who is your favorite character? Least favorite? What are some of the themes that you think this story is touching for you?