As Esau fell, he waited for his life to flash before his eyes.
At first there had been no rational thought, only the dreadful feel of uncontrolled velocity, his involuntary shrieking and grabbing for anything to hold onto. But now his conscious mind was waking up and waiting for something.
He peeked out through slitted eyelids. It was impossible to open his eyes fully against the rushing wind, but he could make out a rapidly shifting kaleidoscope of light blues and deep greens. His body was being tumbled around or maybe he was still thrashing around, trying to halt his descent. Every sensation was so painfully heightened he couldn’t tell the difference between what he was doing and what was being done to him.
He reached back with his mind to his childhood, the carefree days he’d spent not knowing how lucky or happy he was. The retrospective was far from uplifting. Mostly what came to mind were missteps and embarrassments. A disastrous recital where he’d flubbed his solo. Being shoved to the ground and crying in front of half his class. His first girlfriend sending her best friend to break up with him. He’d cried a little in front of her too.
What the fuck? Not only was this terrible, but it felt like it was taking forever. With a concentrated effort, he stretched out his limbs, trying to stop his spinning motion.
Somehow it worked. The changing colors in his vision slowed and settled to green. He could make out the landscape below him, the one he would soon crash into. Except he realized he wasn’t falling down towards it, he was moving forward.
There was a loud screech to his right. He looked over and saw an abnormally large hawk. Or maybe he’d just never seen one up this close.
"It was in you all the time,” a voice echoed in his head. “You never needed the magic feather."
Esau knew it was the hawk. What? What feather?
There was no answer to his thoughts, so he spoke out loud, shouting to be heard over the wind.
“What feather? I don't have a feather! I’ve never had one!"
The hawk screeched and dove downwards before reappearing on his other side.
“Some other sign of the Gods’ blessings?”
Esau shook his head and yelled, “No!”
“Then how are you flying?”
A cold tingling spread through Esau, moving outwards in a wave along his splayed arms and legs. The wind wasn’t rushing into his face anymore, it was coming up from below. He was falling again, picking up speed.
The hawk screeched and angled upwards, away from the doomed man.
When I originally wrote this, the guy’s name was Jacob but after I read it over I realized I’d better change it to Esau.
Image by Henry & Co.