I saw her first in her feathered form: I was three weeks in to a Pacific crossing, fair winds and all following seas, wing-on-wing, single-handing, tethered in. I'd been alone so long I wasn't human.
The day had opened up hot. Eight knots of wind steady on the back of my neck, no land for weeks, sparse white clouds high overhead. The sky and the ocean the same deep blue meeting at the horizon. The slow roll of the waves was my whole world and my heartbeat.
All the hairs stood up on the back of my neck and I slammed my hand over my hat as a sudden gust of wind rushed over my sailboat's stern. I lurched for the sheets - and I almost missed her.
Up. I looked up, all the way up. Impossibly high and still rising. I grabbed for my binoculars. She was riding a thermal, motionless. Her wings were brown, orange, striped white and black, vivid coral, pink, neon, like a sea-creature erupted forth from the water.
I lost sight of her as she rose, her white underbelly merging into a white cloud, but the memory of her was as real to me as each wave's roll.
Weeks later, I sighted land. Two volcanos that rose slowly over the horizon. I anchored out and rowed my dinghy to shore. Scrambling up onto a deserted beach, I saw something.
Nestled under a rock, wet from the tide - it was orangey-pink, striped black and white, vivid, neon, each feather ruffling in the breeze -
I had found the feathered pelt of a rare bird, abandoned on the beach. And leading forth from the wet feathers on the sand, was the shape of a human foot.
Upon the breeze, I heard the faintest whisper . . .
"Opals, silk, lace, furs, I only love the boss."
ABOUT THE BIRD
I like hyper-intelligent men who have lost touch with themselves through too much career, outlaws, and anyone who knows how to get work done.
I'm currently in the process of collecting a very small harem of exceptional men to take on a series of slightly insane, incredibly beautiful adventures that I have planned out over the next three years. I won't say anything more than that. But now you know about the possibility of being chosen.