The Protest

by E.M. Killaley

I watched them taking off.  I saw them spread their wings, purple on denim blue, jumping into the crackling, static air.  And I heard her laugh.

I reached for her hand, clumsily taking hold of it against the hot pavement.  Another sound tore through the sky.  I thought again of fireworks.

‘They’re laughing at us,’ she said, staring up at the darkening clouds.

‘Who?’ I whispered, already knowing the answer.

When the heavens opened, they landed lightly on tiny taloned feet, and took shelter under the portico.  The deluge washed over us.  She had gone silent, but her hand was still warm, and I could hear the sirens approaching.

Nineteen eighty-eight, they sang.  Nineteen ninety-six.  Nineteen ninety-seven.  Two thousand and eight.  Twenty-twenty-six.