The word we used was ‘paperwings.’ The learned ones who knew the symbols soared in their thoughts through worlds lost to time. Our tribe called them miracles, others named them sorcery. Wars were fought, blood was shed. We lost, and now they burn.
They made us watch.
They brought us to the pyre, their mouths smiling, eyes weeping from the smoke and exultation. They called themselves liberators even as our freedom burned. Our feathers clipped, our paper wings reduced to cinder, scorched and scorned and soaring, now nothing more than ash and memory.
The dead should stay silent, they said.
Author bio: Ben Kutina is a fledgling writer and graduate of SUNY Geneseo living in Western New York. He has been an editor for Gandy Dancer and his writing has appeared in Odyssey.
Paperwings is part of 101 Fiction issue 24.