Moonlight whitewashed Kpala's face. She straightened her pose, and looked around. She turned to see Alder, one of the other young owls, floating to land beside her. She flinched. She didn't enjoy company.
He grabbed the branch with his talons and pulled himself in, looking ruffled. He stared at the owls flying away for the hunt, then glanced at her. She pulled her beak into her face and hissed. He looked like he had seen a ghost, then he turned and took flight again. She narrowed her dark eyes, then unfolded her bony wings and flew the other way.
Glancing behind her, she saw the branch rocking from the strength of her take off. She turned back and followed the cloud of brown dappled wings. She fell in behind Red, a dark brown and red-tinged owl. Beside her was Blue, her sister, a blue/gray barn owl. Kpala beat harder and faster to get ahead of them, not wanting to stare at the fan tails of the prettier owls.
The memory of Alder still lingering in her mind, she swooping under a few others, then kept to the rear of their leader, Cherry. Suddenly the white owl flicked her wingtips, and the group scattered. Kpala whirled around in panic, seeing owls fly around, over, under, and what felt like through her. She lost her balance and toppled, plummeting for the ground. She could see the rushing long grass far below her, rippling like a sea tide in the wind. She battled gravity for a long while, then folded her wings, closed her eyes, and braced for the impact.

The End

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