With a Broken Door
It did not think, in the
strictest sense of the word. It didn't have a brain to do it with.
But in the same way that snakes don't have ears but still manage to
hear, it made do well enough.
The current thought, for
want of a better word, that rested under the hood of the Ford Anglia
was, “What is that thing?”
It was certainly a bird.
It was the right shape, had all the necessary bits: feathers, talons,
the like. But the Anglia was familiar with very few birds, and this
thing wasn't one of them. This bird was white, mostly, with large,
round eyes. It was hopping rather determinedly towards the castle in
the distance. It had, the car noticed, a rolled up piece of paper
tied to its leg.
The car wondered, if one
could call it that, why the bird didn't just fly. Birds flew; the
Anglia knew this because no other creature ever joined it in the air.
But they had to work for it, didn't they? Flapping their...
doors. This one seemed to have one door off its hinge.
The car let out a curious
honk. The bird, apparently noticing the turquoise vehicle for the
first time, turned and hooted.
The car had seen birds
with their doors askew before, as sometimes they attacked each other
and often got away. But most of them just lay on the ground,
miserable. This one was... resolute.
Communication is difficult
for even the wisest creatures, and for something that wasn't a
creature it was nearly impossible. However, the car managed to send
across a message asking why the owl was headed to the castle.
The owl, who at least had
the ability to point, communicated that it had to deliver the message
tied to its leg, but its door was broken and it couldn't fly.
The car rose in the air as
if to ask why the owl even needed to use its doors to fly when the
The owl, if bird facial
muscles are capable of creating such an expression, gave the
automobile a look that seemed to be pensive. Then it used its one
working door to get up onto the roof of the car. The Anglia honked
The owl pointed out that
it had to get to the school and that the car could get there quicker.
It was very important, the owl felt, that it reach the castle soon.
If it had had hair to do
so, the car would have bristled. It bucked a bit and the owl lost its
grip, falling back to the ground. The owl glared at the Anglia.
The car backfired
derisively, in a manner resembling a snort, and disappeared into the
trees. The owl stared after the car for a moment, then resumed its
slow hop to the castle.
The snowy owl was aware of
the car that was following it. It is hardly easy to be subtle when
one is a ton of flying steel. It ignored the Anglia though, and
persisted in its quest.
The car was far from
intelligent, what with having no brain cells, synapses, or indeed,
anywhere to keep them if it had had them. But it was good at figuring
distance and speed, and it knew, so to speak, that the owl wouldn't
be able to make it to the castle or even out of the forest before
nightfall. And there were a great many creatures that would love to
take a bite out of a bird with a broken door.
The car'd once saved the
owner's children from the forest, it remembered. What's another
The Anglia honked twice at
the bird, which turned its head around to see what the noise was. The
passenger-side door popped open in a “hop in” fashion.
The owl gratefully accepted.
The ride to the school was
quick and silent, with the exception of the owl's loud squawks of
protest when they drove past the window she wanted into. When the car
turned and stopped, the bird hopped out of the window and fluttered
over to the glass as best she could with one door.
With a hoot of thanks, the
owl pecked the glass, presumedly to gain entrance. Not until she was
fully inside, though, did the car take off.
It's not easy
writing a friendship fic between an automobile and a snowy owl.
Forgive me for being unusually proud.