Wordcount: Daily = 1,403 , Total = 25,803Percentage: 51.6 (110% of target)
Edit: After making this update last night, I then proceeded to write another 700 or so words, bringing my daily total up to a rather more acceptable 1,403. Still below the 1,667 but keeping me ahead of the cummulative minimum.
Oh deary me, I'm losing some of my lead! Not even 1000 words managed today. That's because I got distracted doing other things - like sketching a kowhai and finishing up this year's Christmas bird. It's a cutie, you're gonna love it.
And no, it's not Tiriki - he was the Christmas bird last year - and Aroha the year before that.
I'm thinking that I'm feeling really rather very tired and that tonight I am going to bed before it is even properly dark. That way I can maybe obtain my required 8 hours sleep.
So, not much to report today in the story, except that Tiriki made his first bid for freedom.
As Maxwell pushed open the door and entered into the cage, Tiriki was prepared. He perched near the door, and feigned sleep. If he did not escape now, then he might never get another chance. The human was going to take him somewhere, and he did not think it was anywhere good.
He waited until the human was stooped over, crab-walking his way into the enclosure, using his body to block the door. Then he dropped from his perch and ran straight between Maxwell's legs.
The human flailed, trying to grab him, but his big leather gloves made him clumsy and the kea was fast. Once into the small room, Tiriki spread his wings and flew. The muscles groaned – no matter how much he had exercised him in the cage, it was no equiavalent to soaring high on thermals over the mountains. He flapped onto the cabinet, knocking all the various seed containers and other paraphenalia to the ground. Some of it smashed in a most satisfying manner. Up to the ceiling he flew, circling it, but the tiny ventilation slits were just enough to let in light and air and certainly not big enough for a half-panicked kea.
He dove at the door, thinking of repeating Hiwa's trick with the lever door handles – but the handles were not levers, they were knobs, and he could not operate them. Around and around the room he flew, occasionally dive-bombing Maxwell. The human had picked up something – it looked like a very small whitebaiting net, and crouched, protecting his head. Waiting, just waiting.
Tiriki was starting to tire, when the door swung open. Dropping into a fast, low dive, Tiriki shot through the doorway, skimming across Josh's head. Josh gave a strangled squeak of alarm, turning to watch him, and was then almost knocked over as his father charged past him.
“Out of my way!” Maxwell bellowed. He waved the net above his head like a lunatic.
As if that's gonna catch me.
Heart pounding, wings thrashing, Tiriki bulleted down a short corridor, past a couple of hooks, where one of the white coats hung, and reached the other end.
It was blocked.
But this door handle was a lever.
He dropped on it and it swung forward pushed by the inertia of his flight. Pushing him into another room.
He still was not outside.
This room was filled with the noisy chatter of birds:
“Fly, fly!” They shrilled.
“You can do it.”
“Bad boy, who's a bad boy?”
He was back, back in the shed he had first seen – the ones with all the birds in cages. He skimmed across a low metal table, rising up over a glass-topped box, in which a quick glance revealed a number of eggs, resting in cups. A rectangle of light lured him – the outside! It was so close that he could smell the tang of spring on the light breeze that blew through it, could feel it ruffle his feathers.
Only at the last minute did he realise that it might seem like the door was open, but it was not. He stalled sharply, claws outstretched, trying to slow his momentum before he crashed into the wire mesh that covered the door. The door shuddered, the impact vibrating through his entire body, but it remained firmly shut.
Clinging to the mesh and panting with the exertion, his muscles singing with pain, Tiriki could only stare out at the world he had left behind – rolling green grass, a small stand of trees. And then the net came crashing down over him and his freedom, such as it was, was snatched from him once again.