The Wind Walker

Written in response to: Write about a person or object vanishing into thin air.... view prompt



“Legend has it there are beings, similar in appearance to us. These beings would live among us, unbeknownst to our people. They would be indistinguishable from us had it not been for a few key traits.

The first trait is increased winds. When a wind walker stays in place for an extended period of time the natural wind will increase in strength and frequency.

The second trait is the general fondness of heights. Wind walkers seek to be close to the sky, their true home.

The third trait is the general enjoyment of wind and weather. They are fond of their roots.

The fourth, final, and most notable, but most mysterious trait is where they get their name: Wind walking. Rumor has it that these beings can navigate the wind without gliders”.

Alouette looks up from her report. “Any questions?” she asks

One of the younger kids waves her hand, her pale blond curls bouncing as she does.

“Yes, Chiva”.

Chiva stops waving and stands up from her chair.

“Do you believe in the wind walkers? Oh, oh, could we be wind walkers? We get a lot of wind. Maybe I’M a wind walker,” she says, placing her hands on her hips and tilting her head to the sky.

Our little class breaks into laughter.

“Chiva, fledgling. While most myths and legends stem from a place of truth, they are most often distorted with each generation’s telling to a point where they only vaguely resemble the origin. Legends lie”.

Too blunt. Chiva’s eyes water, her hands still on her hips as she pouts.

“But there is still SOME truth”.

“These stories stretch back millennia. Many of those tellings were solely oral. All it takes is one miss telling...”

“I for one think there is a fair bit of truth behind them,” another girl says.

“Anemone,” Alouette begins to protest. “You are encouraging her”.

“Well sometimes people need a bit of encouragement,” she says as Chiva stares up at her hopefully.

Anemone doesn’t speak much. I suppose that’s why the rest of the class has quieted. It’s not from a lack of trying on our part either. We have invited her to play, to join us at the twigs, or tell stories by the pit, but she has none of it. She is always either gliding or reading by herself. On occasions, I could have sworn that I’ve heard her singing by the ridge, but she always finds a way to disappear by the time I get close. How does one, even a skilled glider, disappear from the ridge? There is nothing but a few scraggly trees and a sheer drop for as far as the eye can see.

Alouette and the pale, brunette girl lock eyes, neither willing to stand down.

“Anemone,” Alouette starts again.



“I said no,” Anemone repeats. “The wind walkers are part of our culture, our heritage, and even if you don’t believe in them, you should still do them respect. You are not even telling the story properly”.

“And what, may I ask, makes you the expert? Who are you to speak about our culture?”.

Is she angry? Both of them. Depts! Even the sky seems angry. The wind howls and sporadic bouts of rain batter the stick roof.

“What makes me the expert? What makes ME the expert? I’m a GLIDER! A FAR glider. I cross domains all the time. It is my niche. Each domain has part of the story, the puzzle, and if you haven't noticed by now, I have been collecting pieces for years”.

“The books?” It wasn’t Alouette who asked. No, stupid me decided to open my mouth and become involved in an argument between the class leader and the silent glider.

Both girls stare at me, Alouette with her trademark bland as a boydo worm expression, and Anemone with a less than usual hesitant frown.

“The books are part of it, yes,” she says, watching me with azure blue eyes.

“Then, ah, why don’t you, you know, tell us the”.

I don’t know who is more shocked by that. She stands speechless, grasping at words. Alouette knits her brow and pushes her thin-framed glasses up the bridge of her nose. The rest of the class is murmuring amongst itself. “Elysian is dead,” I hear one fledgling whisper to another”. “He’s going to be held back from assignment until the next class leader, I’m certain,” another one says. I’m inclined to agree. I’m an idiot.

“I...I can do that,” the murmuring stops, and we all turn to the normally silent glider. Even the ever-composed Alouette is visibly surprised, if not only briefly.

“I may tell your version of the Wind Walkers,” Alouette agrees out of what can only be for curiosity's sake. Her pale gray eyes follow Anemone as she slips between benches.

Anemone cracks a window, the rain becoming louder as she does. Despite that, when she speaks, her voice is clearer than ever.

“Many years ago,” she begins. “Before even the first of gliders, there were only people, much fewer people, most of which were trapped within their slight domains”.

The rain becomes steady.

“They were separated by mountains, rivers, and flooded valleys. While it was possible to traverse the lands and waters, it was a task of the utmost difficult degree. Those born to higher ground would have to surpass many ridges and steep precipices and build a boat far from home if they were to ever reach a water-based niche. Those born isolated by water would have to fare water for nearly every trade. If the conditions were rife they may have had to face extended periods of starvation if they could not provide all that they needed. This left them focused on self-dependence”.

“Um, Anemone,” Chiva says, waving her hand.

“Yes, Chiva”.

“What, um, what does this have to do with the wind walkers. I want to hear about the wind walkers”.

Anemone smiles at her. “I am getting there fledgling”.

We turn our attention back to her.

“The great spirits,” she says, roping us back in. “They saw a people, a potentially prosperous people, hindered by one inability. And so, they decided to grace us with a gift: Wind walking”. She turns to us, looking each of us over. “Now,” she says. “While most variants of the story will agree with what I have mentioned previously, this is where things get a bit more...convoluted”.

“How?” asks a ginger-haired boy from the back. What was his name? Tangey? Tangen?

“Well, Tangier,” she says. “That is because nobody is quite sure what wind walking is”.

“What?” Jivanta asks, her black ponytail whipping to the side as she jerks her head to look at her. Jivanta was...writing this down? Smart girl. She raises her quill holding hand. “If you don’t know what wind walking is, how can you tell us the story?”.

Anemone gives her a slight smile. “Do you remember what I said about this being a puzzle?”

“Yes, but”.

“If Alouette was right about one thing, it was peoples’ propensity for distorting oral stories. People misinterpret meanings and miss hear words. They then tell the slightly altered story to the next generation of people where the cycle repeats until you eventually end up with different variants of the original, each distinctly different, but sharing properties”.

“In order to come to the most accurate version, you must find out which details the majority share”.

Jivanta nods, writing down her words. “And you? You have heard many, so you know which details are most relevant?”

Anemone nods. “Should I continue?” Everyone nods, even Alouette.

“Very well then. I shall tell this next part to the best of my ability”. She takes a breath. “The wind walkers were the solution. No longer was trade a long and treacherous ordeal. The wind walkers, clothed in the colors of the sky, could interact with others at an unprecedented pace. People could now rely on trade. They began to specialize, focusing their efforts on being prolific in only one field. Their methods became more efficient, leaving people with leisure time. People could now focus on what they wanted, rather than what they needed. Art arose and literature, then used solely to document trade, instead told of stories. But…”

“But what? But what?” Chiva asks, bouncing on her feet.

“But...They couldn’t keep up.”

The room goes quiet, with the exception of the pouring rain.

“Only a select few were gifted with wind walking. With the influx of trade, they could not keep up. So…”

Instinctively, I find myself leaning forward. So does everyone else.

“What happened? What happened?” Chiva asks, her brilliant brown eyes showing a mix of excitement and worry.

“They created gliding”.

Everyone gasps.

“They gathered together with the smartest minds of their day. With their cooperation, they managed to create a device that when opened would catch the wind like a sail. It was the first glider. Many were dispersed among volunteers. Those volunteers lightened the load on the wind walkers”.

“But,” I have to ask.

“For every positive, there is a negative. As the gliders became more prevalent people grew to resent the natural ability of the wind walkers. They were ostracized and attacked. Eventually they fled”.

“But, but, where did they go?” Chiva asks as a stream of fog trickles into the room.

“Some say they returned to their maker where they would live in paradise, forever celebrated for their good deeds. Others say they went west where they founded their own land. And others. Others believe that they live hidden among us”.

And then she’s gone.

August 24, 2021 21:29

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