Friday, July 24, 2020

Chasing the Enemy [4]

I was hot on his heels as we both crashed through the woods. If I could keep up the pace, I knew I could catch him. The man ran like a demon though, so it was on me to not tire before he escaped completely. I hoped he'd hit some obstacle like a wall or a ditch soon though.

The man, a raider from the next village over, was participating in one of the oldest traditions in our region - he'd snuck into our town hall and stolen a golden parakeet. The object, made some centuries ago, was part of a larger collection of singing birds. When water was added to the top of a great sculpture the various birds fit into, the device would create birdsong through some ingenious interaction between fluted pipes and the dripping water. Every town in the region had one bird and they were reunited at Easter in the big cathedral. The tradition of course, was to show up with two or three birds that you would then "ransom" back to the home town.

As it so happened, I had been a bystander when the bird had been stolen ten years prior and I promised myself that, if I ever found myself in the same situation, I would give chase. I really didn't expect to ever see the theft happen again, but my destiny came calling today. This is why I'm dodging ash and maple while wearing a business suit.

My luck took a turn for the worse as I tripped and fell; a hammer-blow to my aspirations of catching the brigand. Still filled with adrenaline, however, I continued the chase as best I could, suit torn and knees scraped. My luck downshifted again as I reached an open field. The man had too much of a lead on me.

Then a van came barreling down the road adjacent and the cavalry - my fellow townsmen - arrived. Later on they told me they'd seen my pursuit and were similarly motivated to act, so they hopped in one man's van and came around to cut the thief off. While not personally successful, it was my action at the right moment that saved the town's pride.

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