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Rio 1 and a half

By Alexis Due

Romance / Adventure

Flashbacks and plane flights

**Nikki's Flashback**I looked out my nest. I huffed. Little birds in the nests surrounding us began flying. I looked back at Tad and Cad hanging with their friends. Mom was sprucing the nest up a bit. I looked back out thinking how it would feel to fly. Tad described it at feeling weightless."Mom. When will I be able to fly. The other little birds are flying!" I complained.She looked at me and rolled her eyes. I have annoyed her with question for the past week."Soon Nikolette. A few more weeks." she said smiling.

But I felt ready to fly now! I was 3 months old. I should be ready..."Too bad pipsqueak. It's Carnaval! I guess you're gonna have to stay home." Tad and Cad laughed going back to their friends.I walked over to them plopping down onto the floor of the nest."Thanks for the support guys." I gave them a dirty look crossing my wings."Sorry little sis. Ya know you'll fly soon." Cad said rubbing the top of my head."Just not today!" Tad smiled."3 of hearts! I win!" their friend Spike said laying down a small playing card made out of a leaf.The ones they copied from a human game they found. I rolled my eyes and looked out to other birds flying around. Then, an idea came into my head. It had to work. I'm not staying cooped up in here for the next few weeks. I looked back and made sure no one was looking and snuck out onto the branch. I stretch out my little wings and paced back and forth. Thinking of the right time."Alright Nikolette. You can do this. Just got to have positive reinforcement! Just open up your wings and fly!It's now.. Or never" I told myself.I opened up my wings and jumped. I soared through the air landing on a different branch. I laughed with glee flying unsteadily trying to get the hang of it from branch to branch. I laughed with glee. I was flying! Other bird flew and sung around me. I felt like a feather. I smiled landing onto a low branch. Suddenly, birds darted in all different directions. I got scared and tried to fly up, but I couldn't. Fear caused me to stay put. Then, I saw a shadow behind me. Confused I suddenly heard my mom's voice."Nikolette! Watch out!" my mom's voice called.As I turned around a huge net went over top of me. I tried to fly out, but the net was too strong and pulled me down."Mom! Tad! Cad!" I cried."Hang on little sis!" Tad called.We're coming!" Cad followed.The net was pulled down to a metal netted box and they pushed me in. I cried again. Suddenly, I heard the human speaking angrily and I looked up at my mom and my brothers and other birds attacking them. He left the door to the box open."Come on, Baby Bird!" a little canary bird called to me. Flying over to the door.He pulled me out and we hid in some bushes. I saw my mom and brothers attacking the human. But they seemed to be losing. I got up to help the little canary bird held my wing."We've got to help." I told him urgently looking up."Help's is already on the way. Look!" he pointed behind the human.I saw a small bird that was gray with a red crest followed by a toucan. I looked closely recognizing the toucan. IT was Rafael! My mom's friend when she was little. He was helping my mom and my brothers."Alright Rafi!" I called.Rafi looked and waved at me then returning his attention. The human looked mad. Then he suddenly swooped grabbing my mom and brother stuffing them into a metal box that I was in."No!" I cried.I tried to fly. I kept on falling. Fear just kept me in my place.God dang it, I wish I would have learned to fly correctly . I thought.I finally made some ground and I hit the human in the back with my beak. He flinched swiping at me. He hit me with the back of his hand and headed off. I fell to the ground with a big thump. Rafael and the other two birds came to my side. Rafael helped me up."Are you okay Nikolette?" he asked me."No I am not! They just took my family! What am I going to do now?" I slumped.

"We've... We got get help! More help. And...And..." I thought quickly rushing around.

Rafi grabbed me by my wing. I flinched. It hurt. I fell back on my bottom.

"Ouch. Rafi careful." I said jerking my wing toward me.

"I'm sorry Nikolette. But you gotta calm down." Rafi said sitting by my side putting his wing around me.

"This.. This can't be happening." I stuttered.

Sadness washed over me."Come on! You are free now! No mom to tell when to be home and what to do." the red crested bird said."No brothers or sisters to bug you." the yellow canary said putting an wing around me."I have to admit that life style does sound fun, but kinda lonely." I sighed."I'll always be here to take care of you." Rafael told me, "I promised your mom I will always take care of you if anything happened to her. I actually consider you as my daughter." he told me."Wow Rafi. You've never been so passionate about anything besides your girlfriend Eva." said the gray and red bird."Oh shut up... Oh Nikolette. I'd like to introduce you to Nico and Pedro. They lost their families to smugglers as well. So you aren't completely alone." he told me."Nice to meet you Nikolette." Pedro said to me."you know since you are free, you can hang with us." Nico said smiling.

"Yeah, Nikki, we cool with you, girl." Pedro chimed in.

"Nikki?" I said confused.

"Yeah, Its a nickname. You don't mind do you?" Pedro replied.

I thought about it for a second. I kind of liked it."Yeah, that's okay," I smiled, "Rafi what's wrong?" I asked looking over at him."What really seems to be bugging me is that you guys all lost your families around the same time." Rafi said rubbing his beak."Just a coincidence. Hundreds of birds are caught by smugglers." Pedro shrugged.

I didn't want to talk about it. A tinge of pain resonated on my face. They all saw it."Yes, But it's the fact you all met up is what think is weird." he said again."You know Rafi just...what's that sound?" I said turning around.

A wonderful sound met my ears. It carried through the entire jungle. Lots of birds heard it, still being cautious from the smuggler, finally came out to listen and dance. The guys listened."What? The music?" Pedro asked me."Yeah The music. It sounds...familiar. What is it?" I asked."What?! You don't know what that it is?! It's Samba!" Rafi exclaimed."Well I'm sorry smarty pants! I don't know everything! I'm only 3 months old." I shook my head."Actually That Mr. Smarty Pants to you." he laughed."And Nikki you know you're talking to the King of Carnaval!" Nico said putting a wing around me."Really? Why are you the king of Carnaval?" I asked."Well you should . . . . .Why are you the King of Carnaval?" Pedro asked."Come on little birds! I'm gonna show you why." he said."Where are we going?" I asked."I've got to show you something." he said soaring up.Then, I realized where they said we were going. As they took off I sat on the ground. My mood suddenly changed. I crumbled underneath and stayed with my tiny feet planted into the ground."Wait! I'm not going there!" I exclaimed."Why? Don't you wanna see the city?" Nico asked me."No. Those humans can't be trusted." I told him."Nikki. They took my family too. You can't just be stubborn over one person." Nico exclaimed."But my family was everything to me! I'm not being abandoned again!" I exclaimed.All three looked at me. Nico and Pedro confused. I clamped my wings over my beak. Rafi looked at me with heart sunken eyes.

"What do you mean again baby Bird?" Pedro asked.I sighed deeply. Rafael put his wing around me and smiled. I smiled back weakly.

"It's all in the past. I just... I don't trust humans, okay?" I said.

Nico came and put his wing around me."Nikki. I promise nothing will happen to you." he looked in my eyes.I suddenly felt something in my stomach. I felt that I could trust him. I hesitated"Trust me." he smiled.I hesitated again. But his eyes seemed trusting."Okay..I guess I could check out the city." I hesitated."come on Girl! You gotta shake those tail feathers!" Pedro said spinning in a circle.I laughed. I took a step and tripped over something. Falling on top of Nico. He looked at me. Our faces centimeters apart. My cheeks felt hot for some reason. He stood up helping me up. I looked over seeing a piece of something sticking out of the ground."What in the Rio was that?" I asked looking to see what it was.Rafi helped me uncover it. I picked up seeing it was a bottle cap."So That's where it went!" Nico said taking it out of my hands."What is it?" I asked curiously."It's from my old nest. This was something my dad gave to me." he said setting it on his head.He wore it like a hat. I laughed because it was a little too big."Why do you wear it like a hat?" I asked."Because it looks cool!" he exclaimed.I giggled giving him a weird look."Come on you guys! Let's go to the club!" Rafael said taking to the air."Yeah it's Carnaval! We got to get to the Branch!" Pedro exclaimed."come on Nikki." Nico held out his wing to me.I took it flying with the guys to the city. Still hesitating on going. I was actually flying. I wasn't afraid anymore.As the lights of the city drew closer I grew more hesitant. I flew slower trying to land on a branch. But Nico stood by my side reassuring everything was going to be okay. We soon entered the city and I saw the bright colorful glowing lights lighting up the city. Sparkles and glitter were everywhere. I had forgotten not wanting to come. I pushed it aside trying to be happy. I could tell they were trying hard to make me forget what happened. Smugglers took birds everyday almost, my mother had told me. That's why I stayed in the nest. It was no surprise to us anymore if birds were being smuggled. We tried to forget. That's what the guys were trying to do.

Something moved in front of my face. I snapped out of my trance. They looked at me all waiting for a response."oh, sorry.. So this is what Carnaval is? A big party?" I said impressed."Not Just a party! The biggest Party in the world!" Pedro exclaimed."Well I wouldn't know. Overprotective mom here." I reminded him."Yeah that's right. I forgot." Pedro said smiling cheesy."Come on you kids go any slower! Hurry up before we miss all the good music!" Rafi told us.We followed him to an abandoned fruit stand covered in blankets. I saw birds flying in through entrances. We entered hearing the music booming. I gazed around and the wonderful colors. The music booming from the human radio placed up high. The colorful birds all around dancing."This is beautiful!" I exclaimed."Welcome to Paradise!" Nico told me taking my wing toward the front of the boxes."Where are we going?" I asked."I'll show you!" he told me.Pedro followed flying up to the boxes. The music paused for a second."Hey everyone! We've brought a new bird into here! Her name is Nikki and it's time to show her some true Carnaval spirit!" Nico told me.The crowd cheered. The song changed. It sounded familiar. Nico took my wing dancing with me.Rafael smiled at me."What do you call this music? It's sounds familiar." I asked him."This is Samba! The musical backbone to Carnaval! The music of life!" he told me spinning me around."It sounds wonderful." I smiled.I saw Nico looking into my eyes deeply. I couldn't tell what he was thinking. I smiled a cheesy smile and laughed. We kept dancing. Hours had passed by. I wanted this to last forever. I wish I could share this feeling with... My mind flew to my mom, with my brothers. I stopped instantly. That feeling washed over my again suddenly. I have to stop thinking about them. Nico looked at me. I smiled weakly.

"I'm going to sit down okay?" I said over the music.

"Okay. Go ahead." he nodded and smiled.

I went up on some boxes by the entrance. Sneaking out an entrance. I sighed as I went and sat down on a discarded crushed pop can. I thought the of the chain of events. I peered up sighing. Blinking away tiny tears. I wiped them away with my wing."You okay?" a voice called.Suddenly the blankets came crashing down making the Radio fall. A big white bird came flying in. He looked around at the scared faces. I tried to hide in the crowd. Then his eyes met mine. Piercing into me. He flew up and grabbed me."Guys!" I cried."Nikki!" Nico and Pedro called following me.Rafael followed them. Tears streaming my face.He flew near an old house far away from the stand. The door opened. A man stood smiling at him. A young boy cowering behind him. He took me from the bird sticking me into a cage. I immediately clung to the side of the cage. I shook it."Nikolette!" A voice cried.I turned around greeted by my mother's wings. Shocked and hugged her too."Where is Rafael and Pedro and Nico?" Tad and Cad asked."They couldn't fly fast enough. You know Nico and Pedro are still baby birds like me!" I huffed."Geez why are you all mad?" they said angrily."See Marcel! That's how you do it! You're not even as smart as a bird!" the man's voice overpowered ours.

I looked over at him yelling at the boy. He looked about 15 years old."I'm sorry dad. I didn't mean-" smack! The man hit the boy across the head making him tumble back."Listen to me! When I tell you something! I expect it to be done! Now go hang them up in the other room." he brushed him off.I felt sorry for him that his father just did that to him. He walked over picking up our cage walking into the other room. Leaving us there.Days past and I was starving. The white Cockatoo being our tormentor. When I saw a flash of bright colors by the window. Nico. Pedro. Rafael.**end of flashback**

I snapped my eyes open. Scared and frightened. Without realizing, I fell from my perch and landed on the bottom of the cage.

"Ow!" I exclaimed.

"Are you alright?" Mia asked me lifting up the blanket on my cage.

"Yeah. Just.. Had a nightmare, I guess." I said flying back up to my perch.

"I'm glad you are okay." Emma piped up.

"Are we almost to Brazil?" I asked.

"Yes ma'am. Like.. A half an hour away. The plane shoule be landing soon." Mia said.

"Good. I can't wait to fly free again." I said stretching my wings out.

"So you won't miss us?" Mia asked.

"No. Of course I will miss you. You guys saved me all those years ago. I owe you my life. I just can't wait to see my family again. I hope they are still in the jungle." I replied looking down.

"I'm sure they will be. Everything will be okay." Emma smiled.

"Thanks." I smiled back.

I settled back down onto my perch. Feeling the gentle rock of the plane.

The captain announced 20 minutes until landing. I'm almost home.

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