Bobby and Jess were not especially cruel children, and they did not especially dislike pigeons. They did, however, like throwing rocks, as children do. And so it was their job to keep the pigeons from getting too comfortable on their family’s grain silo each evening. The idea, of course, was to keep the birds from making a mess and eating the corn. But the pigeons had quickly learned that both Bobby and Jess had terrible aim. Now, the chore was more of an excuse for Bobby and Jess to throw rocks without earning themselves a scolding.
But the twins had not counted on Olivia simply sitting, terrified, as gravel rained down on her. “Fly, Olivia!” cried Rocky from behind the silo. “They’re like crows with a hawk!” called another; “Just flap off a ways and they’ll leave you be!” Even as the pigeons shouted encouragement, the storm began to clear; the twins were having no fun throwing rocks when it looked like they might actually hit one of the poor birds.
They thought they should at least make a show of scaring off the last pigeon, though. Bobby aimed left and Jess aimed right, and both threw one last stone at the silo. The bits of rock should have bounced harmlessly to the side. Unfortunately, the twins were as bad at missing their target on purpose as they were at hitting it. They had not aimed at Olivia, and Olivia had finally decided to get out of the way — but all three realized that their plans had gone wrong when they heard the terrible soft thud of a stone hitting a bird’s wing. Terrified, Olivia took to the air.
She heard the twins shouting meaningless human sounds —
“Is it dead?”
“It’s breathing! Get Dad!”
A gruffer voice then, joined again by the children:
“Look at that, white all over.”
“From a magician?”
“Yeah right. Probably from the lady who does weddings.”
“Doesn’t matter right now, kids, let’s get her to Mar.”
There was a shuffling as, stunned from her fall, Olivia felt herself picked up and wrapped in something soft and warm. Then she was somewhere small and cramped, and then something was placed over that, and Olivia was in darkness again. She could feel herself being carried very quickly, and she thought in a fuzzy sort of way that she should probably be trying to escape. But she was so tired, and the faint, soothing murmurs from the humans outside reminded her of pigeon sounds. Olivia closed her eyes and imagined that she was still safe in her eggshell, with her brother beside her, and her parents cooing soft lullabies from above.