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The Collection

A flight for your life.

By Stephanie DownardPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 4 min read
Photo by Stephanie Downard

Ella had been flying for minutes, hours, she didn't know, but it seemed like days. She was tired of the air. All she wanted to do was land. Her father, Bert, and mother, Ava, did all they could to keep Ella calm, but both were panicked. It wasn't unusual for them to take flight. They did it daily, but today was different. Danger followed them. It chased after Ella, Bert, and Ava like a wolf pursuing its prey.

It wasn't always like this, Ella thought. Thinking about how life used to be so simple. It was quiet and pleasant. Every day they would venture out into the sky. Fly for as long or as little as they wanted. Ella's favorite was taking flight with Bert. He wasn't too overprotective as her mother. She set rules and boundaries. Ella could only fly within a specific area and only at slow speeds. She longed for independence. Bert, on the other hand, gave her more freedom. He let her fly fast or slow, and it didn't matter. They tested the limits together. Flying free as birds out in the open sky, not letting any boundaries hold them back.

Maybe they should have listened to Ava.

Ella thought of how their stupidity spread like wildfire. Soon everyone assumed they could fly here and there without consequences.

But you know what happens when you assume, and if you don't, maybe Google it.

The community gradually started getting worse and worse. It began with superficial injuries: a cut or a bruise on occasion. They thought strong winds were striking them from the sky. It only escalated from there. Soon some would be whacked to the ground, somehow flying back with a messed-up wing. No one knew what was causing all the havoc. Things started getting so out of control that those who went out didn't return. The brave ones would gather and search for their companions. They were flying into the danger zone to rescue them.

They brought back the wounded daily, sometimes so bad that they found them crawling around because of a missing leg. Wings and limbs were scattered everywhere. The ground was like a murder scene. Fear controlled everyone. Tensions were high, and they had no plan to stop the unknown attacks. Screams of anguish filled the air. Ella found it hard to sleep. It wasn't getting any better. The wounded were dying right and left. There were whispers of a monster who roamed the sky. It would snatch them up mid-air and take them away. Those who didn't get taken told crazy tales of a giant taller than a tree. Most were delirious from the pain. It was hard to believe them. Not long after that, there was no wounded to be found. They disappeared. Anyone who ventured out in the sky too far never returned.

Until one day, a loud cry was heard throughout the whole community.


Everyone scattered to get out.

This brings us back to the beginning of the story.

Ella realized her reminiscence of the past was a dire mistake. While lost in her train of thought, she noticed her mother wasn't behind her.


Bert yelled, “AVA NOOO!!”

Ella and Bert watched Ava falling to the ground with her wing tailing after her.

“WE HAVE TO GO BACK!” Ella screamed.


Ella felt helpless as she flew away, leaving her mother behind. She knew her father was right, but her heart broke, knowing they may never see Ava again. There was no time to mourn. Bert and Ella had to keep moving. Faster and faster, they flew. They were swerving and weaving in the air. Going high and low, they tried everything to escape the giant. On all sides of them, there was nowhere to hide, nowhere to land.



The giant was seconds behind them, swinging and swatting something in the sky. They both felt a rush of air swoop past them. It caused them to jerk back and lose all control. Bert and Ella, we're free-falling to the ground. Bert tried to get under Ella to catch her, but it was too late. The giant scooped them both up. They both hit the ground hard and fast, unable to fly. A net had them trapped. Bert and Ella tried and tried to break free. It didn't matter how many times they slammed into the net. They were stuck. Exhaustion consumed them. As they lay next to each other, looking into one another eyes Bert and Ella began to drift off to sleep. The last thing they heard was,

“Look, Daddy, I caught two butterflies.”

“Great job, sweetheart. Those butterflies are beautiful. They will go perfectly with the others in my bug collection.”

Short Story

About the Creator

Stephanie Downard

I'm a mom of 3 plus a bonus son. I've discovered I love writing, and in my free time, that's what I do! I may not be the best, but that will not stop me! It can only go up from here! I hope you enjoy the words that trickle out of my head.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (5)

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  • Lamar Wigginsabout a year ago

    OMG! What an ending. I love, love, love how you did this. What a unique take, Stephanie! Great Job!

  • Gerald Holmesabout a year ago

    Wow!! This is so well done. I was invested from beginning to end. Love your style.

  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    Nice photo and the story is a great take on the challenge. I was thinking flies, but butterflies were definitely better.Well done.

  • Oh no, poor butterflies! I was guessing they're some kinda birds but butterflies never crossed my mind! This was brilliant!

  • R. J. Raniabout a year ago

    Oh no! I did not see that ending coming... I enjoyed the way you approached this story. Also, stunning photograph! Where is it? It looks like a magical place 🤗

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