Lana stared at Nahc, very confused. The crow-boy wasn’t looking at her, so much as he was…strutting. He walked up and down the rooftop.
“Mmmh! Bah! Zabba-dee, zabbi-doo, you can’t hear it, Wing?”
“Wing?” Lana asked.
“The music, wing, the music!” Nahc spun on a taloned foot, and crowed to the sky again. “The wind soaring through the buildings, whistling through new ruins and older successes that stand in defiance, it makes a melody that just…baba doo bah!”
Lana was sure that this creature was quite insane. Especially when he turned and dove off the side of the building.
Lana cried out, and ran over to the side. There, in the city lights, was the crow-boy. He swooped down to street level, singing his ridiculous song. Pink and purple flashed past the storefronts. He settled on a lamppost, and kept on that incessant howling.
He was insane! He was a beast, a being created by magics that humans and other creatures despised. Lana hid under her robes not because she was ashamed, but because she feared for her life. How could he risk all of this, for a song?
But…no. The passersby did not look at Nahc in hatred. No one reached for a handy weapon or spell component. Most gave him dark looks of extreme annoyance, or flipped fingers in his direction. He was a nuisance, and an un-funny one at that. Not a threat to the very fabric of society that needed to be stamped out.
Lana stared in wonder. They didn’t like him because he was stupid, not because of what he was. What a city.
Nahc finally tired, and flew back up to the roof. He tipped his beak, and winked.
“Whatchoo think, Wing?”
Lana stuck out her tongue. “My name’s not Wing, it’s Lana.”
“Ok, Lana-bat. Like my singing?”
“No. it’s a screech, not catchy, and generally annoying.”
Nahc pouted. “But it’s fun, right?”
Nahc crowed again. “I knew it! I knew I caught the scared gal smiling.”
Lana laughed. “It’s because of this city. You were able to…to be! You are here, you’re not having to run, or hide.” She pointed at his feathers. “You can dress ridiculously like that, and no one is going to say anything other than it’s silly.”
“Hey!” Nahc pointed at himself. “This is an original style. No one else has anything close to this fashion.”
“For good reason.” Lana was being snide. She could be snippy! What was going on here?
Nahc sighed. “New girl comes to Gratitude, and already she’s sniping like a pro.”
“I’m sorry, I’m not usually like this.” Lana said. She spread her wings, and looked around. “It’s just, this place. You are here, and not having to live in fear. It is so…wonderful.”
“It’s all right,” Nahc agreed. “The Quarter is kind of…ethnic, but good food and fun people.”
“The Waste Quarter,” Nahc said. “Where all the Reza live.”
“All?” Lana’s eyes bulged. “There’s more?”
“Oh, Lana-bat,” Nahc shook his head. “You don’t even know.”
copyright 2018 Jack Holder