Rie Sheridan Rose's short stories
appear in Double Dragon's From Within the Mist ebook and
The Stygian Soul as well as Yard Dog Press' A Bubba In
Time Saves None. Yard Dog Press is also home to humorous
horror chapbooks Tales from the Home for Wayward Spirits
and Bar-B-Que Grill and Bruce and Roxanne Save the
World...Again. Melange Books carries her romantic
fantasy Sidhe Moved Through the Faire. Zumaya Books is
home to The Luckless Prince. And Mocha Memoirs has the
short stories "Drink My Soul...Please", "It's Always
the Same Old Story", and "Bloody Rain" as e-downloads.
The story itself was a result of a comment someone made
at ArmadilloCon about children morphing into birds. The
idea inspired me to write my first short story in
several years. And once the dam was broken, the stories
have been coming in a flood.
— Rie Sheridan Rose
To Run Is To Fly
Rie Sheridan Rose
The air was alive with wings. Red, blue, yellow,
green… cascading, swooping, diving, soaring. And song —
always song. Teeth fairly rattled with the trilling,
cawing, cooing cacophony of it.
By contrast, the streets seemed dead. Gray
buildings populated by gray people living gray lives. On
occasion, a careworn face would turn toward the living
rainbow above, and an expression of wistful longing
would lighten the gray to ash.
And sometimes, one of the birds would light on a
bent shoulder and sing its song directly into a thirsty
ear — an earthly benediction — before soaring off again…
perhaps leaving a brilliant feather to be treasured like
The gray folk stumbled and limped. Some held canes
or crutches. No one ran.
Running was for the birds.
Here and there among the gray folk was a child —
but these too were limping gray… or too young to run.
Babes in arms were scattered about, toddling tots…
toddled, but no one ran.
It wasn’t forbidden. It was impossible.
Marta clung to her son. Talman was almost three.
His golden hair was a spot of earthbound color in the
gray town. His limbs were long and straight. He was a
boy born to run.
So she kept him close. Kept him pent. Tied his
wrist to hers with string. Bound him to her shattered
Talman watched the birds. Daily from barred windows
he watched. He reached for them with straining fingers.
Tears streaming down her ashen cheeks, Marta watched him
as he watched the birds.
On the square, writ in stone, was the law: TO RUN
IS TO FLY.
It was a curse long suffered.
No one remembered why it was cast — why they’d been
doomed to gray ash. Even the eldest were born beneath
But the mothers like Marta held their babes close
and prayed for twisted limbs. Hoping against hope.
To run was to fly.
One gray day, in a gray month of that gray year, as
Marta fussed among her cooking pots, a glass was
dropped, a string was cut, and the tether anchoring
Talman’s straight limbs and dancing feet snapped in
twain. Before the cry of horror could fully form on her
ashen lips, he bolted toward the open door and the
winter-dark sunlight beyond.
He hit the doorway running — at long last, running.
The change began on outstretched arms and upturned
face. A shimmer of golden down, pin feathers, pinions,
wings — soaring free by the time he reached the square.
Golden bird from tow-haired child.
To run was to fly.