Flight of the Eagle novel (Chap. 16-17 & Ending)
Two hurrying adults burst through the foliage. Adam’s father was younger and faster. His new sneakers almost flew across the mossy trail.
Moisture warmed quickly as sweaty feet splashed through muddy puddles.
Grandpa was not far behind.
They had heard Adam’s cries as they were parking the car. At first they thought he was calling someone. Perhaps a school chum was visiting from a nearby farm.
They knew it wasn’t Paul. He and his parents had just returned from their sugar bush camp. When everything was explained, panic set in. They had left a ten-year old boy, for a few hours. It was a way of showing trust for someone as mature as Adam.
But being left alone by the river was a horrible thought bouncing around in their minds. The enormity of what might have happened suddenly hit them. They ran faster.
The last time they saw their precious son and grandson was several hours ago. They had watched him heading down the trail, eager to search for eagles. Grandpa even loaned his expensive binoculars.
So, what was wrong with leaving him alone? It was safe enough there. Their many trips had proved that. Surely Adam hadn’t planned on going swimming?
Checking the shoreline suddenly made them realize how high the river was. “Must be runoff from last night’s downpour,” Adam’s dad said.
The water was churning.
Both adults questioned why they had allowed Adam to be on his own. “You have to trust me,” the boy had stated. Yes, he was old enough to be allowed responsibility.
“Paul is going to be dropped off by his parents in about fifteen or twenty minutes,” grandpa had said. “The same as last week.”
And so the boy had set off along the trail, which was no more than 500 feet to the river. The adults proudly saw he was unafraid of being alone in the woods.
Nothing could happen.
Or, so they thought.
In fact, they had sneaked down to check everything was fine. At that time, Adam had been singing to himself while lying on his tummy. His binoculars were pointing skyward.
Scary sounds now forced their way through the trees. “Help! Help-MEEE!! was coming from someone in trouble. Now they knew for sure it was Adam. And he definitely was in trouble.
Their thoughts were confirmed as they rushed to the shoreline. Where was he? “Adam! Adam!” they shouted. Nothing. They only saw the ‘churl’ of water chasing foamy suds heading down the river.
Not far away, a bobbing head was busy thinking. Adam kicked off his other sneaker, lightening the drag from the river on his left leg.
His soaked denim jeans were getting heavier. They made it difficult to kick free of the current. As his feet struck bottom, he pushed up. Whenever his head broke surface, he expelled stale breath and gathered in fresh air. Then he plunged back down from the force of the current.
Adam didn’t know the eagle was quite agitated. And flying slowly up and down the river trying to understand what was happening.
The male eagle gave a warning shriek, signaling mother eagle to keep a sharp eye on her chicks.
Then he spotted something that did not belong in the river. The head was furry, the skin fair. And every once in awhile a cry came forth. Not animal, but human. It was a sad sound that unsettled the peacefulness of his domain.
At first the eagle was confused. Then familiarity reached his brain. The man-child. It was the small one who had fed him.
He saw the boy’s form being pulled downstream with the current. On his back was a noticeable yellow bulge. The eagle didn’t realize it was a small backpack, not folded up wings.
The full impact of the scene now understood. And the eagle shuddered to a hovering position.
His telescopic eyes zoomed in on the struggling figure. The eagle’s fatherly instincts revved up. The eagle didn’t falter as he streamed towards the small boy in the water.
His claws were fully outstretched as he headed for Adam’s packsack. The boy sensed something behind him. Then he turned and caught a glimpse of the eagle as he swooped low over the water.
And it was coming straight at him.
At about the same time, both adults came through the trees and stood on the shore. They tried to scream, but nothing came out. Like two frozen icicles they watched in fascination.
This predator of the wild was heading towards their boy.
Adam was tired of doing his jack-in-the-box trick. And continued holding his breathing as he sunk to the bottom. Then he kicked upwards, breaking surface, gathering in fresh air.
Each time, he was able to bob only a few moments.
Suddenly a wingspan of feathers blotted out the sun. It was the male bald eagle! Adam knew there was going to be a crash. He crossed his arms, clenched his teeth and closed his eyes tightly.
Sharp talons pierced his backpack. The force of the impact lifted the boy forward, half dragging him across the surface of water.
Stocking feet skittered like skateboards across the surface. It seemed impossible to believe, but it was happening. Adam knew the eagle was carrying him to safety.
He raised both hands, reached up and grasped the eagle around his powerful, downy legs. Suddenly Adam was falling to the ground, as the eagle released his talons.
His dad and grandpa came out of their trance. What they saw was hardly believable. A story they would repeat often to their friends and neighbors.
Then both jumped into the river and splashed towards Adam.
His stomach had bumped to a halt on top of the soft grass. In a few moments Adam retched several times.
But, being back on land was wonderful. As he curled up on the shore he saw something even more exciting, dad and grandpa scrambling out of the river.
As they grabbed and hugged him, Adam began to cry.
It sounded like both adults were doing the same.
High above a dark speck screeched. Then the eagle lowered his wings and dropped swiftly, like a stone. He completed a few circles above the huddle of two men and a boy.
He was also pleased to see his own nest in order. Mother eagle and chicks were busy nurturing each other, not bothered by the commotion below.
The bald eagle swooped once, then twice over the scene by the river’s bank. Three people looked up in awe. Their eyes were thankful with each passing swoop of feathers.
“Mom! Grandma!” Adam shouted, spotting them on the opposite shore.
A chorus of eagle cries joined those from the humans below. And the bald eagle finally settled in with his waiting family.
Adam hugged his grandpa and dad. This was a super duper, decadent chocolate squeeze.
“I lost the binoculars,” he said sadly.
Neither of the men minded right now.
Adam was able to stop shivering and relax. His heart had stopped pounding rapidly. His soaked shirt and pants had been quickly removed. Grandpa and dad looked funny without shirts.
The boy had one across his shoulders. The other wrapped around his legs.
It didn’t bother him when dad carried him across a shallow spot in the river. Adam also didn’t mind kisses on the cheek from the ladies.
The boy looked around at the hill, then the river. Finally his eyes rested on the eagle’s nest. His eyes were wet. He wasn’t sure if it was tears, or river water.
Adam knew one thing for certain. The eagles were truly his friends.
And he would visit here often.
Richard & Esther Provencher enjoy creating children’s stories & novels. Experiences are drawn from raising four children, being foster & adopting parents and doing volunteer work in nursing homes and meals for needy. They were married in Sarnia, Ontario on March 27, 1975 and now live in Truro, Nova Scotia. Richard was a member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia for many years, and a Writer in the Schools Program under their auspices for eleven years. Esther enjoys art-painting. Richard also writes poetry.
Richard L. Provencher was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. Esther was born in Cape Spear, New Brunswick. Their writing blends a love of the outdoors along with contemporary issues, with short stories published in The Preservation Foundation Inc., Grand Reflections, Expressions of Soul, Subtle Tea Productions, and In Remembrance, considered the Best Web Site re Sept 11 Memorial in USA for 2002 and 2003.
They began writing as co-authors, after Richard’s brain-aneurysm in 1999. Writing was considered good therapy and he has gained much recovery since then, with the aid of his faith, a great wife and good doctor.