Birth of The Free Bird

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In the forest, Angus was sitting on the floor at the wooden house of Finch’s and Mosley’s. His legs crossed as he ate some food, which was his breakfast that was served by the woman whom he knew as Mosley. Angus had been so quiet since he woke up from his sleep and found his son, Edmond, was grinning at him. The woman named Mosley had saved him and his son as well who got hit by another boy, Thomas.

Angus’s eyes looked at the woman and the little girl who sat in front of him. He could not see any resemblance between the woman — who looked like blind woman with skinny face and white hair with sick-pale looking skin — and the girl who got blonde hair and blue eyes with healthy looking skin. Who were they really? How long had they been living in the forest?

But Angus could not seem to utter a word to them. Even to his own son. He wanted to rebuke him for his own stupidity, coming to the forest with a stranger like the woman. What was he thinking? Angus wondered internally. He looked at his son who sat next to him, eating his own breakfast comfortably as if he had been living here for a while.

Edmond was so beyond joyful when he found his father at Finch’s house in the morning. After playing with Finch last night, they went back to her house and slept on the floor together. They were surprised to find that Mosley was not there. Only to find her back in the morning with Edmond’s father laying unconsciously on the bed. First, Edmond was surprised and worried for his father. But then Mosley ensured him that his father was okay and would be waking up soon.

Mosley had prepared four plates of foods for her guests. She had never had visitors before. In fact, she did not like it. She had always stayed away from the villagers. Even when Finch had brought few of her friends here, Mosley never showed herself to them. However, this time she chose to see them. Especially after she found the man passing out in the forest last night. Poor man, did not where to go to find his son.

“Don’t you enjoy the food, Sir Angus? You eat like a bird.” Exclaimed Mosley, observing the man who barely touched his food.

Angus snapped his head and looked at the peculiar woman in front of him. It was not that he did not enjoy the food. He did not have appetite for having anything to eat. He still could not fathom how he could end up here. Regardless of his discomfort staying at the woman’s house, he did not want to offend her hospitality for saving him and his son.

“I apologise, Ma’am. But I seem not be able to digest any food right now.” Said Angus as he finally managed to open his mouth to speak. His eyes looking at her apologetically.

“Are you sick, Papa?” Edmond asked, concerned about his father. Unlike his father, Edmond ate his food like a horse. He was starving after all.

“No, Edmond. I’m fine.” Angus answered his son. Now that he was feeling a little bit better and his son was fed, Angus thought to go back to his house. Jill and Neil must be worried about him. He had to go home before both of them went to look for them into the forest, trying to follow his trail. “I think we should leave before it rains.”

Finch looked up from her plate. Her eyes were widened as she heard what Angus had said. She did not want Edmond to leave yet. She had been enjoying his company more than she enjoyed spending her time with Thomas.

Since the man awoke, Finch had not said anything to him but smiling and hiding behind Edmond. She remembered last night when Edmond told her that his father would not allow him to come back. Now, she was anxious and scared of not seeing Edmond anymore.

Mosley noticed the change of expression on Finch’s face. She understood her attachment towards the boy. It got her worried but she knew better not to test the girl’s limit. Mosley did not want to hurt the girl for now.

“Finch can show you the way, can’t you, Finch?” Mosley looked at the girl who blinked her eyes in surprise. She was not comfortable around Edmond’s father but she would be able to spend some more time with Edmond under his father’s supervision.

Angus looked at the girl who seemed shy. He did not want to trouble a little girl like her to show him the way out of the forest. “We should be fine, Ma’am. I’m sure I would be able to find the way. I would be worried that your daughter might get hurt on her way back here.”

Mosley laughed loudly, causing Angus to frown in confusion. “Don’t you worry about Finch, Sir Angus. It’s you whom you should be worried about. You both might get lost.” She remarked sharply.

“Can I play with Finch again, Papa?” Edmond plead. He, too, was feeling sad that he would leave Finch. He liked being around Finch as he felt like she was his real friends.

“No, Edmond.” Angus objected. “Jill and Neil are at home. They must be worried about us.”

Edmond and Finch looked at each other. They were not ready to leave each other.

“Finch will lead you both the way out of the forest.” Mosley insisted.

“But,-“ Angus was going to object again but he was silenced by Mosley sharp glare that was thrown at him.

“Sir Angus. You will need Finch’s guidance if you want to get back to the village quickly.” Mosley asserted.

Angus did not argue with the woman further. She got the point. Angus would need assistance from one of them to get out of the forest as soon as possible. So he would have to let the girl lead their way home.

Edmond and Finch were the first one to step out of the house. Angus stayed back to express his gratitude towards Mosley’s assistance.

“I really thank you for what you did to my son and myself. I will be forever in your debt.” Angus stated. His brown eyes studied the woman’s white eyes who seemed to be staring at him. “However, I don’t wish for my sons to come to the forest as I don’t think it’s a safe place for them to play.”

“I think I can understand your point. I don’t think the village is a safe for Finch. I don’t wish her to get out of this forest.”

Angus frowned at her. Is she joking?

“Having said that, I wish you would not speak a word about me and my little oasis here to anyone in the village.” Mosley requested. Her tone was serious. “I don’t want the Mayor to know about Finch’s existence and mine.”

“It’s too late for that I believe. I told them already about it. Their son knows about the girl. Even though they seem unaware about you as the boy assumed that the girl was by herself here.” Even I thought she was only by herself. Angus added internally.

“Then you need to convince them that we don’t exist.” Demanded Mosley. “You are the only man who ever came across with us. Others are just children. Children can be manipulated. Don’t you agree?”

No, I did not. Angus wanted to voice his argument loudly but he chose not to. “I would see what I can do, Ma’am.” He answered her instead.

“Remember that you are in debt to us.” Mosley reminded him. “Be my ally for now, and I will come to aid you one day.”

“One day.” Angus agreed.

“One day.” She confirmed.

On their journey back home, Edmond was walking on Finch’s side, five steps in front of his father. He held Finch’s hand and grinned at her. Finch returned it with a broad smile on her face.

“Do you still have my coin?” Asked Edmond in a low voice. He did not want his father to hear their conversation.

Finch nodded. “It’s here.” She lifted her free hand and opened her fist, showing Edmond the coin that he gave her last night. The coin that she used as her marker during the game.

“You have to keep it. We’ll play again soon.” Edmond promised.

Finch nodded happily. Her smile broadened as she heard Edmond’s promise. “I’ll be waiting for you Edmond.” She declared.

“I’ll come back for you.” He vowed.

They walked silently, holding each other hand, until they nearly reached the end of the forest. Finch halted her step. She turned to Edmond, looking at him sad. There was a pain in her heart as she could not walk further from there. She was sad that she had to let Edmond go. It felt like she would never see Edmond for a while. She was very aware that the man behind them would not let Edmond come here. But she hoped Edmond could find a way to come back here.

Angus came to a stop when the children in front of him did not walk further. He looked around him and then took a better look ahead of him. He could see the line of the river which promised him that the village was not far. He could hear the water running in the river and he exhaled, relieved that he was able to get out of the forest.

Angus came closer to his son who was still holding the girl’s hand. “Edmond, I think Finch has to go back home from here.” He said to his son.

Edmond was not ready to part yet. He still wanted to stay there with Finch.

Seeing his son’s stubbornness, Angus separated Edmond’s hand from the girl’s. They both gasped, looking at each other in shock. “What’s the matter?” Angus frowned at both of them.

When their hands were separated, Finch and Edmond felt a wave of pain in their hands. It stung them like bees.

“Will Edmond come back here, Sir?” Asked Finch, finally able to ask the question directly to the man.

“I don’t think so, Finch. Edmond cannot come here by himself.” Angus said softly. He could see the pool of tears on the girl’s eyes. He felt sorry for her, sorry that a girl like her had to be stuck in the forest with a peculiar woman as her guardian. He pat her head gently. “Maybe I will be taking Edmond for a walk here some days.”

Hearing that, both of the children’s eyes lit up with hope. A smile formed on Finch’s face and Angus could not help but wanting to promise her that he would really take his son back here.

“Promise, Papa?” Edmond wanted nothing but confirmation from his father about coming back to the forest.

Angus nodded. “Yes.”

“Did you hear that, Finch? I’ll come back with my Papa.” Edmond cheered, followed by Finch giggled.

Finch gave Edmond a hug before he departed the forest. She waved at him over and over again as he watched him walking further away from where she stood, away from the forest.

Edmond could not help but kept looking back to make sure that Finch was still there. He waved back at her with his free hand while his other hand was being held by his father who seemed not want to let him go, afraid that Edmond would sneak away from him again.

When Edmond could not see Finch anymore. He became anxious and sad. He wished she could come with them to the village.

“Where did you get that red scarf from, Edmond?” Angus asked him, noticing about the strange red scarf around his son neck. He did not remember giving him any scarf.

Edmond looked up to his father. “Mosley gave it to me, Papa.”

“Hmm.” He hummed.

There was something about that peculiar woman that Angus felt familiar with. But he could not pinpoint it.

Not yet.

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