The raven stuck his head out the window in the tree trunk. “Where are we going?”
The woman perched in the prow didn’t turn. “Across the great water to a place far away.”
“That doesn’t tell me much,” he grumbled.
“What else do you need to know?” She looked at him then and smiled. “I am taking you to a safe place, a new beginning. That’s what’s important.”
“What was wrong with where we were?”
“Nothing, until everything went wrong.” She faced forward again, though there was nothing to look at but water and more water.
He pushed the window all the way open and hopped out onto a branch. “Does this place have a name?”
“Well then? What is it?” He pecked at a leaf until it fell, twirling in graceful circles until it landed on her head. “You are contrary.”
“I am patient.”
“Not that patient. You destroyed the world, didn’t you?”
“Humans did that, not me.” She sighed and pulled the leaf from her hair, holding it with reverence. “It is your turn now, raven. Yours and the bees and the fish in the ocean.”
“But there is nothing in the–”
Even as he said it, a dolphin breached beside their boat. Water glistened in rainbow colors on its smooth gray skin.
“You just made that,” the raven said in delight. He’d always liked dolphins.
“I will make many more things when we get there,” she promised.
The raven hopped along the branch, all the way to the end. “But please, no more humans.”
“No more humans,” she agreed.
She waved a hand and ahead of them, a huge mist appeared, and in the mist, the raven saw green and gold and brown. “We’re almost there. So it was at the beginning, so it will be again.” The boat fairly flew toward the land.
The raven hopped up and down with excitement. He’d be glad to get out of the tree and onto something that didn’t rock. Like the rest of his family, he’d flown as much as possible during the journey, but even his great wings had grown tired and he’d had to rest.
The boat landed on a sandy shore. New birds appeared above an endless forest. Two horses raced to meet them, tossing their magnificent heads. A pack of wolves appeared, then rabbits and cats and deer, and then there were so many animals, he couldn’t keep track anymore.
“Where are we?” the raven asked, flying down to Gaia’s shoulder.
Word count: 416
Genre: dystopian fantasy
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