Birth of The Free Bird

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“I wanna go home.” He spoke to them nervously.

Hearing Edmond wanted to leave, Finch felt something in her heart stirred in pain. She loosened her grip on Edmond’s arm but did not let go of it.

“I want Papa.” Edmond started to sob.

Mosley rolled her eyes at him and got up from her chair. She patted his head gently. “I’ll get you home tomorrow.”

Although Finch did not want Edmond to leave, she was beyond surprised to hear that Mosley would let Edmond stay over at their place.

But Edmond did not like the idea. He was still scared of everything around him. Especially the woman who was now patting his head, trying to comfort him. He never stayed anywhere except at his auntie’s house, with his papa and Neil staying with him. At least, he knew his family was there.

“I wanna go home.” He repeated again, sobbing.

Following her instinct, Finch hugged Edmond from the side and whispered in his ear. “You’re okay here, Edmond. Don’t be scared.” She rubbed his back soothingly.

Mosley tilted her head to the side, observing Finch’s soft behaviour toward the boy. Finch was always nice to others but something glinted in her eyes when she looked at Edmond. Something that Mosley found it difficult to point out. Yet it was something that got her worried.

Attachment? She wondered to herself. How bad?

“Don’t cry Edmond. I’m here.” She soothed him, acting like an adult comforting a child. “You’ll be alright.”

Edmond continued to cry and Finch continued to comfort him, until he felt comfortable and stopped crying.

Mosley went back to her rocking chair, relaxing there again. She was in a deep thought, wondering what she had to do with Finch. She had been following the girl playing with the other boys. Finch did care for them as they were her first very friends in her life. But a different attachment had grown inside Finch’s heart and mind for Edmond.

It was too early to draw the conclusion of what Finch felt for Edmond. She had not spent time with him as much as she did with the other boys. What had attracted Finch to Edmond?

Mosley closed her eyes, pretending that she was sleeping. The chair rocked her body comfortably.

Edmond’s eyes wandered around the small room he was in. His eyes then landed on Mosley, wondering why she was with Finch. He remembered that the woman said she lived nearby the forest, not in the actual forest. Was she Finch’s mother?

He turned his head slightly, looking at the girl who kept comforting as if he would really feel comfortable staying there. But he managed to do so. He knew he did not have any choice. He would have to stay with her unless if he wanted to get lost in the forest.

Finch gave a reassuring smile to Edmond. She took Edmond closer to the fire place, drying and warming themselves from the cold. Finch sat down on the floor, enjoying the warmth radiating from the fire.

“Sit down, Edmond.” She said to him, patting the space next to her.

Edmond did as she said. He, too, enjoyed the warmth he got from the fire. He had been soaked in the rain and feeling so cold. He realised that he still wore his raincoat. He took it off immediately and put it on the floor next to him.

The girl saw him now wearing only shirt and pants. She looked at the boots he was still wearing. They looked too big for him and looked uncomfortable. She then remembered how nice it was to be bare feet. Her eyes moved to her own feet who was still covered by a pair of shoes. She turned to look at Edmond again, grinning at him.

“Do you want to take your boots off? You’d feel better.” She suggested. She quickly kicked her shoes off of her feet. She stretched her legs and let out a long relief breath.

Edmond followed her suggestion and action, kicking the wet boots off and stretched his legs out with his feet facing the fire place. She was right, he felt better already. He grinned back at her, forgetting about his home for a moment.

“Do you have fire place at your home?” Asked Finch.

“Of course.” He replied. His voice was calmer. “A big one.”

“Is your house big?” Finch asked him another questions, curious to what kind of place he lived in.

Edmond nodded his head. “Neil and I have a play room. We play hopscotch.”

“What’s that?”

“Hopscotch.” Edmond repeated, confused with Finch’s question.

“I don’t know hopscotch.” Finch admitted. “Is that a game?”

“Yes. Do you want to play?” He asked her, feeling excited out of sudden. It was his favourite game after all and he never played it with anyone but Neil. Finch was his new friend, someone who genuinely wanted to play with him. He could feel it.

“Here or outside?” Finch was unsure how they were going play the game that Edmond mentioned.

“You two better go outside.” It was Mosley who answered Finch instead, telling them implicitly to get out of her peaceful place.

The children looked at each other. Finch, who did not want to anger Mosley, grabbed Edmond’s hand and dragged him out of the house.

Edmond did not have time to protest or to put his boots back on. He stepped out of the house bare feet, just like Finch, who seemed unbothered with it. Her feet stepped comfortably on the wet ground.

“I need to get my boots.” Edmond grumbled.

“No, you don’t.” Finch remarked as she kept dragging him away from the house. Finch was glad that it did not rain anymore, even though her clothes and hair were still damp from the rain.

“It’s dirty!” Edmond complained some more.

“You’ll be alright.” Finch giggled. In her mind, she wanted Edmond to experience what she had. She wanted him to feel comfortable walking bare feet, disregarding the mud that blackened their feet.

Edmond pouted his lips petulantly. He was not used to those things. He did like playing outside but he did not like getting dirty. Jill would usually scold him if he came home dirty and he did not like being scolded by anyone. So he tried to avoid it.

A rumbling noise of the thunder was broken through the forest, making Edmond jump in surprised and fear. Finch noticed how Edmond was scared of the thunder. The boy looked up at the sky, as if searching for the source of the sound.

“It’s not gonna come to you.” Finch had not let go of Edmond’s hand. She squeezed it gently, smiling. “Let’s play your game.”

Upon hearing his game, Edmond’s excitement came back. His eagerness to show Finch the game came like fire. This time, he was the one who dragged Finch forwards, leading the way as if he knew the forest. He forgot about his feet that got dirty from stepping on the mud. He hopped on and on into the part of the forest that had wider space of ground, where the trees stood far away from each other. There was not any grass on top of the ground but soil. Even though the ground looked muddy and wet, there was no flood around the area Edmond had found. The space was perfect for playing hopscotch.

“Wait here.” He told Finch, who was secretly enjoying Edmond’s excitement.

Edmond went to search for a stone and a few things that he could use as markers. He was searching around to find the perfect solid materials. He was going to use stones as markers but stones did not do good job like coins or bean bags.

Then he remembered that he had something in his pocket pants. He slid his hand into his pocket and pulled out two silver coins from there. He grinned. Edmond picked up a sharp stone from the ground then went back to Finch.

“What did you get?” Asked Finch curiously. Her eyes were focusing on the stone on Edmond’s hand who carried a sharp stone.

“I need to draw the court on the ground.” He lifted the stone up, closer to Finch’s face. “I’ll use this.”

He then began to draw the court, scratching out the layout of the court on the dirt using the stone. The court consisted of six squares, forming a cross with a half circle on top of the sixth square, marked as the home base. He made sure that the squares were in proper size.

When he finished drawing the court, he turned to Finch and gave her one of the silver coins he had.

“This is going to be your marker.” He began to explained how the game worked: what’s the rule of it and how they were supposed to hop from one square to another.

“Now, let’s put our marker inside the first square.” He put down his marker on the ground, followed by Finch who looked as excited as him to play the game. “Remember, if you hopped out of the square, you wouldn’t get your turned to play until I lost.”

“Okay.” Finch nodded.

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