Eagles

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The mountains rise above us, black against the blue skies, against the white clouds driven on by the keening wind. I can see the eagles above them, floating in the breeze, black specks among all that blue, all that white. We’re following them. Following the eagles.

We have nothing else to do.

The paths we’ve been walking are so stony that my shoes fell apart weeks ago. They dropped off my feet, and I left them where they were. The soles were gone, anyway, and most of the rest. They weren’t worth anything, not after how long I’ve been walking in them.

My mother’s feet are bleeding. She never says anything, but I can see they hurt her. She had shoes too, when we left our village. They’re gone now, like mine. Everything we own is strapped to our backs, and we’ve left bits and pieces on the trail behind us when they got too heavy. An old idol. My sister’s doll. A cooking pan that was too large. Someone will come along behind us and pick them up. Another refugee family, or some of the traders that pass this way. Sometimes mule trains climb through these mountains, heading for the border on the other side.

I wish we had a mule to ride.

The eagles scream, their sharp shrieks loud in the thin air. It’s a good sound. They’re getting closer. Their nests are in the cliffs above the pass, where we need to be. So we follow them. Hoping they’ll guide us places even a map can’t find.

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