Nischa, pt. 4

Nischa sat in the dark, gripping the bars in the corner. The Large Ones had not been seen in two days. The first day they were absent she had investigated her cage. The bars were thick, nearly the size of her slender wrists, but they were not as regular as she had first thought. The metal bulged and thinned in places, and it was in the corner that she found several together that were half the thickness of the others. When the Large Ones had not returned that night, Nischa began her work on the bars. Taking one in trembling hands, she stilled her mind and thought of the snow capped peaks of the northern mountains. The bar began to frost. Crystals traveled from where her fingers rested, slowly spreading until the ice ran the full length of the pole. Nischa released it, stepped back and threw her tiny body against it. Her shoulder slammed into the bar, frost shook loose like snow, but the bar held. She tried again and again, until finally there was a satisfying snap of metal. The bar had broken clean through, but was still attached, top and bottom. She began work on a second bar. By morning on the third day, Nischa had snapped three bars. She pressed against them, shoulder, hands and feet. They gave very little, but it would have to be enough. As the gap slowly widened, Nischa pushed through. She had done it. She was outside the cage! She flew in a quick circle, stretching her wings. “Help me. Don’t leave me here.” A quiet voice from the other side of the room called to her. Nischa flew over to the cage and grabbed the bars. “Don’t worry, we’ll all be out of here soon.” She took a deep breath and frost began to form at her fingers. Nischa got no further. There was a thud from above, and the sound of slurred voices. The Large Ones had returned. Awkward steps could be heard moving closer, and the thump thump thump of a heavy form on the stairs. She looked around. She needed a place to hide. In the corner, by the door, she saw it. There was a large pack and bed roll. She shuddered at the thought of entering a bag again. Motioning for the other to remain quiet, she flew across the room as fast as her wings would take her. She reached the pack just as the door opened. The pack was closed, so Nischa dove for the bedroll, slipping in between the loosely tied folds. She heard the Large One stepping closer. Had she been seen? Her world shifted, bounced and she heard the clump clump clump as the Large One, the pack and the bedroll she hid in moved up the stairs.

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When the pack finally settled, Nischa braved to peak out. There were voices coming from the other room. She flew cautiously to the edge of the door, and listened. It sounded like a crowd. Some of the slurred voices sounded angry, others tired, and a few pleasant. Looking past the edge of the door she saw what must have been the inside of a huge wood and stone structure. There were several Large Ones. On the far side, she saw another door, and three Large Ones stood blocking it. Each wore shiny metal armor. A tall one spoke to them. “Errr… if ’tis not t’dangerous, why d’we need t’be locked in, then?” She ignored them and flitted quietly over to a flaming lamp on hung on the wall. She was cold. She saw no sign of her captor here. As she warmed her hands she vowed to herself that she would find the others and free any that still survived.

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