Birth of The Free Bird

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Edmond froze as Mosley’s hands came to fix his hood. Her fingers slightly touched his already cold-wet skin, making his whole face become colder. The hair on the back of his neck stood up in fear. There was something about the woman that got the child frightened. Something that told Edmond to run away from her but his body seemed to be glued in place, staring at the woman’s pale face that was right on his level. As his eyes focused on her eyes that were all white, he then realised that she was blind.

“Can you see?” Asked Edmond, as he could not hold his mouth from uttering what he really had in his mind. Just like as usual.

Mosley smiled kindly, the kind of smile that barely appear on her face. She shook her head at him. “I am blind, child.” She lied to him. Her voice was as sweet as a mother’s, comforting the frightened Edmond who suddenly felt sorry for her. Yet, his eyes were still bewildered by her.

“Why?” That was not what he wanted to ask. He wanted to ask how she could see him on the ground and help him effortlessly, putting his hood on as if she knew exactly where everything was.

“I had an accident few years ago.” Mosley tilted her head to the side. Her hands reached to his face, cupping his cheeks gently. “Would you like me to take you home? You look horrible. Come, let’s get up.”

“No, I don’t want to go home.” Came the expected answer from Edmond, making Mosley giggled. “I wanna go to the forest there.” He turned around, pointing at the direction where Thomas and William had gone.

This boy is so stubborn. Just like Finch. She thought mentally, wiping the rain water off of her face. Edmond copied her movement.

“I can take you to the forest, child. I live nearby the forest.” Offered Mosley. Her so-called blind eyes twinkled as her fun began.

Edmond’s eyes gleamed in happiness. He let Mosley took a hold of his hand as they travelled to the forest. To people’s eyes, it looked like Edmond was guiding the blind woman where, in fact, the blind woman guiding the child to the place they should have never come.

At the forest, Finch was sitting lazily on the branch of a tree, eating an apple, a breakfast that Mosley gave to her. She swung her legs. Her feet were no longer bare, a pair of black shoes wrapped them nicely. Her usual knee-length brown dress was still the only dress that she wore but a read scarf was wrapped around her neck, adding a colour into her dull clothes. Her pale yellow hair was pulled into a ponytail. Despite the rain that was still pouring and the fact that she was soaked, Finch’s expression was as warm as a sunny day.

She had such a good morning. Mosley had turned to be nicer to her, paying more attention to her needs. The shoes that she was wearing now, was the first shoes that she got as a present from Mosley since she was born. Mosley even lent her red scarf to her, saying that Finch was allowed to wear it.

Her day would have gotten much better if her friends were there. She could not wait to see Thomas and William and show them her new appearance. They would be so surprised. Thought Finch.

After finishing her apple, Finch climbed down the tree and went to the other side of the forest. Her feet was hopping around the forest as she was humming a cheerful tone. If it was another child, the child would have slid down for the ground was extremely wet. But Finch knew the trick of walking on the wet ground in the forest. The whole forest was her home after all.

Thomas and William had just gone through the river. They were nearly swept away by the running water in the stream that went in high volume of speed. They would have been drown if they slipped off of the stone as they attempted to cross the river. The umbrella that William had was blown away by the strong wind, making Thomas carry the basket of food that he got from his home as Thomas was able to save his umbrella.

The two boys who looked very determined to go to the forest, seemed to ignore the troubles they had to face everytime they went to the forest. For them, the girl who lived in the forest, was more important than their own wellbeing.

“Did you think Edmond follow us?” William wondered, his head would occasionally turned around to check if the child was following them. “You were too harsh on him, Tom.”

Hearing this, Thomas’s head turned around. His eyes hardened. “I don’t like him hanging around Finch. She’s ours!”

“Me neither. But that boy could have said everything to his father.” Little did they know that Edmond’s father already knew about them going to the forest.

“He won’t dare.” Thomas said confidently.

They now had stepped into the forest. They stood for a few moment, catching their breath. The rain had not stopped pouring, making them shivering in a colder air as the forest’s temperature was much colder than the village.

William free hands wrapped around his own upper body, hugging himself to warm himself up. “How could she really live in this cold forest?” He mumbled.

“Finch!” Thomas called out her name. Hoping that she could hear him. They took a few steps further and Thomas called her out again, a bit louder this time.

The girl whom they had been called finally appeared a few meter away from them, running toward them giggling.

“Thomas, William!” She cheered.

William was the first one to embrace her, holding her tightly as if he had not see her for years. “I miss you, Finch!” He exclaimed.

“You have governess.” Finch stated. “Were you not as smart as Thomas, Will?”

Thomas chuckled. Unlike William who gave Finch a hug, Thomas gave her a pat on the head. “No one was as smart as me.”

William rolled his green eyes. He was still mad at his father for hiring a governess for him without telling him in advance. Now his time to play outside was limited to four days in a week. He sighed in defeat. His green eyes then glanced at the red scarf around Finch’s neck.

“Where did you get that red scarf from?”

Finch, who had been excited to show them her new appearance, grinned at William’s curious questions. “I borrowed it from someone. I got shoes too. Look!”

Her statement got the boys surprised. Thomas and William looked at each other before looking at her questioningly.

“From who?” They inquired at the same time.

Finch pursed her lips slightly. She was still not allowed to tell any of them about Mosley. After seeing Mosley got upset the other day, Finch doubted that the woman would be happy if she told the boys about her. So, to avoid any mishap, she shrugged.

“It’s just someone I knew.” She said to them. Her tone was steady.

Thomas looked at her skeptically. He was not satisfied with her subtlety. His black eyes were brooding over her. The girl had become more and more suspicious. There was a secret that was yet to be revealed. Thomas had a strong feeling about it.

Finch noticed the small basket on Thomas’s hand. “What did you bring?”

William snatched the basket away from Thomas’s hand and gave it to Finch. “I brought food for you, Finch.”

“Thank you!” She smiled brightly.

William smiled coyly at her. He then put his arm around her shoulder. “Let’s go to your place, Finch.”

She froze and her eyes widened, remembering what Mosley had told her to not bring any of them into their oasis. Thomas noticed the change of expression on Finch’s face upon mentioning her place. His brooding eyes fixed on her.

“What’s wrong, Finch?”

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