birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Pearl's Confession

The guards forced Pearl into the room and closed the door behind her. The girl stooped to stroke Pearl and when their eyes met, they both began laughing.

"I am so glad to see you!" said the girl. "I love your voice. It is exactly what I might have imagined."

"I have a confession, Pearl said. "It's not easy to know where to begin."

"I have so many questions," the girl said. Pearl stopped her. "I know you do. But let me tell you the story. Then I'll answer what I can." And so Pearl began.

In the time before time when animals could talk and the small creatures lived in peace on the top side world, there was harmony. But time passed as time does and other creatures came into this world. And the ways of these creatures were different. They did not respect the elements, the trees of mother Earth, the fire from her belly and from above. So the wind forgot about the creatures and no longer visited. The water lost her gentleness and sent destruction.

"Or so that is how the story was told to me," said Pearl and continued with the tale.

Something had to be done. So the small creatures left the top side world and moved here in the land below. Pearl gestured to the cottage where they were, and by implication to the rest of the strange land the girl had wandered through.

But "as above, so below" and once again the world below is in danger from the creatures who live above. Once again they are disrespecting the great mother.

The small people who live in world below, these people from the old country, have been waiting for the coming true of an old legend that says there will come a girl, born in the third blue moon in a single lunar year. This girl will have gifts. She will understand the voice of the wind, and she'll be able to converse with water; the limbs of oaks will cradle her, and she will be able to see visions in fire and light.

"They believe you are that girl," Pearl said. "And I was brought here only to bring you here to find me. That is my confession."