She'd never imagined being so close to such an animal as an ostrich before now. However, here she was, staring into the face of an ostrich. She was desperate to stretch out her fingers and touch the skinny neck, the large feathers, the beak... but the beady eyes stopped her from doing this. All of her life she had waited and wished to be this close-- and now that she was, it struck her with so much awe that she was unable to grasp it.
"Michela!" She turned to the sound of her own name, but too late to stop what was happening. A rock flew from the boy's fingers towards the beast.
The ostrich squawked in dismay and lunged towards Michela's friend, who would possibly become her ex-friend after committing such an action. Michela scrambled away from the angry animal, motioning for Blayke to do the same. The bird backed up and charged at them, hitting the fence before it could reach the children.
"Fool!" Michela hissed at Blayke. "Why would you do that? The bird wasn't doing any harm to you!"
Blayke dropped another rock that he was still clutching in his hand. "I thought--"
"You 'thought'!" Michela exclaimed.
The bird continued to squawk behind them, reigniting Michela's anger. She turned and stormed away from Blayke, back to the animal.
"I knew you would do something stupid," Blayke said in a bitter tone. "I don't want you to get in trouble. Or... hurt. I care about you."
"What a time to pronounce your great care for me," Michela said. "I'll never get this chance again."
"The chance to pet an ostrich?" A deep, gravelly voice interrupted the argument.
Michela and Blayke both looked towards the speaker. A tall man with a dark beard stood behind them a short distance off. He wore heavy rain boots. A noose dangled from his right hand.
"Yes," Michela answered after a moment. "Yes, to pet an ostrich-- to ride an ostrich!"
Blayke rolled his eyes, comfortable with the gesture because he knew his best friend would be too caught up in ostrich talk to notice. Otherwise, he wouldn't have done such a thing-- girls with fiery tempers such as Michela's were dangerous.
"It wouldn't have to be your last chance," the man said, bringing Blayke back to the present from his memories of past eye rolls he'd regretted deeply.
"How so?" Michela was curious.
"You could travel with us." The man gestured to himself and then to the ostrich. "We need a caring person like you to tend to the animals..."
Michela frowned. "I would love to, but I don't think my parents would approve."
"It's a good thing we won't ask them, then," the man said.
Blayke's eyes widened. "What--?"
Before he could react any further, the noose dropped over his neck and the man grabbed Michela by one arm. She began to scream, but quickly the man snarled something in her ear that Blayke didn't quite catch. She fell silent. The fear pooled in her eyes as she stared at Blayke.
What has she gotten us into this time? Blayke asked himself.
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Christy ~ currently trying to figure out what’s wrong with me