Stink Bug – Chapter 19

V’x kept lagging back, heavily favoring her right side. I tried to stay with her, encouraging her to keep up. She would flutter her wings and hop to speed up, but would soon slow again. K’eel squawked angrily every time we fell too far behind. Her patience was wearing thin.

“You OK?” I asked of V’x when I thought K’eel might be out of earshot. V’x ignored me, and we continued on in silence. We rounded a corner and nearly crashed into K’eel, who stood with her wings raised and her hands on her hips.Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 19”

Stink Bug – Chapter 18

I sat down and waited. K’eel was agitated and groomed her feathers furiously, warbling to herself as she did so. Five minutes passed. My knees were aching, so I got up and walked around. I peeked at what V’x had been working on. It was a series of pegs on a board. Some of the pegs were brightly painted. Others were still being carved.

“Keel?” I said.

K’eel squawked at me loudly, fluffing her feathers. She went back to grooming.Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 18”

Stink Bug – Chapter 17

V’x was tinkering with her back to us when we approached. She was trilling quietly as she fitted together some carved bits of wood on a large bench in front of her. Her feathers were in complete disarray, especially on her right wing where several stood straight out rather than lying flat against her body.

“V’x,” said K’eel, announcing us. V’x squawked and tossed down her work fluttering nervously, turning quickly and bowing to K’eel.Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 17”

Stink Bug – Chapter 16

K’eel quickly ushered me back under the forest canopy as the sky darkened. There was a flash and a clap of thunder, followed by the rush of water from above. Under the trees, the air grew damp, but we were mostly protected from the onslaught. Water ran off the trees into trenches that drained into a larger stream that passed through the forest.Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 16”

Stink Bug – Chapter 15

The Vrr’ak’l had dispersed. Tr’b’l had vanished into the canopy. K’eel and W’oo’woo still sat on each side of me, shielding me with their warm feathers. W’oo’woo was clucking quietly to himself, scratching at the ground with his beak from time to time. K’eel was tracing patterns in the dust with the worn tip of an old, shed feather. There was chatter among other Vrr’ak’l from distant places in the trees, but so far as I could see, we were alone.Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 15”

Stink Bug – Chapter 14

I stared at T’r’bl for a long time. She didn’t move, other than the occasional blink in that curious way that birds blink. I broke her stare and scanned the other Vrr’a’kl. They too stared back at me, many of them fluttering their feathers. W’oo’woo was among them, quivering quietly beside me. K’eel had her head down, her beak resting upon the ground. She was the only one not looking at me.

I focused back on T’r’bl. “I-.” I didn’t know what to say. I needed to say something. “I don’t know what I can do to help.”Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 14”

Stink Bug – Chapter 13

T’r’bl told her tale:

Not so long ago, and yet it seems an eternity, we lived happily as a large tribe of more than one thousand in the foot hills of the T’t’t Mountains. A day’s flight in nearly any direction would put us in contact with out neighboring tribes of N’rr’t, K’arr, and Zz’t. Two day’s flight into the mountains would put us with the K’t’tk. Our lives were peaceable. There were many chicks, abundant food, and rare fighting. We got on well with neighboring tribes. We traded husbands and fostered children. And, on the occasional difficult season, we shared resources. There was little conflict, but for a few hard heads.Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 13”

Stink Bug – Chapter 12

I couldn’t get K’eel nor W’oo’woo to elaborate any further. They were nervous and eager to change the subject. I decided not to press. T’rb’l would explain later, I was sure.

K’eel flew off, leaving me with W’oo’woo.

“Are you hungry?” he asked, raising the crest on his head and fluttering his wings. “We can eat, yes? Good food today.”Continue reading “Stink Bug – Chapter 12”