It was fast, so fast that Vas didn’t fully remember what had happened. It was confusing. He had heard his father screech at them to fly. They didn’t see him. He had come from out of nowhere and had jumped on the creature that was standing below them.

There had been a lot of yelling and a blast of hot air as Vas and Riva had taken to the air. Something hot had singed the feathers on Vas’s left wing, but otherwise, he was fine, just frightened. The two of them had flown back to their nest to wait for their father. He had come, nervously and nipped the pair of frightened chicks into motion.

They were reluctant to leave the safety of the briars they had called home since their hatching. Vas recalled the smell of grass and dry musty leaves. He had laid there as still as could be next to his brother and did not have the energy or will to move himself until Triv had arrived. Even then, it was the nipping that had to get them to their feet and force them to run. Vas could not remember a time when his father had been so upset. His nips were harder than they should have been and brought the blood in little marks along Triv and Vas’s tail and flanks, but it had worked.

They had escaped and now,.. Vas squirmed and squinted his eyes, caught in the midst of a repeating nightmare that he only wished he could forget.