Hin heard a phone ring. It was the kind of phone ring that belonged to her old rotary phone. It made her head feel like it was splitting open.

"Ok, ok" she mumbled and opened her eyes only to see a white sign that read 'you are here', in deep red letters with a red arrow swooshing down. She stood and stared at it while still listening to the ringing phone. At least she thought she stood. It felt like she was standing but wobbled when she tried to walk forward.

"Am I drunk?" she asked no one. The phone once again intruded loudly and she turned sharply and saw it sitting on a strangely tiny table reminiscent of Dr Seuss art. She reached for the phone and for a moment her fingers were feathers, her hand the tip of a wing. Then they stretched out to her familiar shape. She grasped the receiver and lifted it up and was almost joyful that the ringing had stopped.

"Hello?" she was almost too frightened to put the receiver to her ear but did out of curiosity not expecting a reply on the other end, or maybe hoping for none.

"Hin?" A voice rasped on the other end of the line. Chills ran down her back and she froze for a moment trying to think about what she should do next. This was not a familiar voice and it was a very frightening one. She took a deep breath in preparation.

"Who is this?" she asked trying not to sound scared. It came out slowly like she was wary but not frightened, although she shook a little and her lips were dry.

"Itzal" is all the voice proclaimed.

"Who is Itzal?" Now Hin was annoyed, "Am I drunk? Did you drug me?"

"You are dreaming," Itzal began, "and I am a god"

"Then you can send me home?" Hin let herself hope.

"Not in my present condition, which is why I need the girl. To bring me home." the disembodied voice explained.

"To bring you home?" Hin was confused, "How are you not here?"

"I was exiled for my brother's crimes against the Dragons," Itzal sounded as though this pained him, his voice strained.

"And these powers I supposedly hold for the girl? Did you do that?" Hin was aggravated. This was maddening.

"No, the other gods did that. They have paid the cost for interfering on such a scale. They lose their sway with the world We created." The voice was once again wheezing. 

"Is that why technology works now?" Curiosity overtook her.

"Yes. There will need to be a new balance for what is coming." Itzal's voice strained.

"What's coming?" She could barely hear the raspy breath on the phone anymore.

"My Brother," Itzal sounded far away now,"I have hidden you in plain sight until she is ready for what you hold. It will keep you safe."

"Hidden me?" Hin yelled hoping maybe it would bring Itzal's voice back,"Hello? Hello?"

Frustrated she slammed the receiver into its cradle. She looked again to the sign that proclaimed she was here. But the room was just as barren, and off-white as before, even the table with the phone had vanished. Then off in the distance, she saw black clouds and lightning flash. A storm was rolling in and it looked horrifying. She turned from it and attempted to run, but could feel it overtake her. The rain started falling but it wasn't raining. It was blood falling. The lightning cracked above her and she woke with a scream. Only it wasn't really a scream, but a high pitched warbled sound.

She tried to make a noise, any human noise but out came the same high pitched birdlike sounds. She stretched her arms out and in horror saw grey feathers and little wings. She was laying on a towel and looked up in time to see a large blue hand reach down and grab  her. She did not like how confined it felt. Like being trapped in a bear hug. She squirmed and tried to scratch with her feet, and peck with her beak. The blue man's skin was squishy like it contained jelly. He was spongy like a jellyfish or octopus. He dropped her and shook his hand.

"That hurts," Lyros said

"Birds are like that," She heard Aulder say.

She hopped around on the ground then spread her wings and flapped them the way she had seen many a bird do before. Instead of taking flight she just kind of made woosh and slap noises as she fluttered hopelessly about. She let go a frustrated scream that came out a very long high note. Which led her to warble several more notes in frustration.

"Your bird is strange," Aulder said looking closer at her as they bent down. She wished that they would get closer so that she could peck their nose. She shook herself and suddenly felt as though something was wrong or out of place and started putting feathers to right with her beak feverishly.

"You said it wasn't sick," Lyros said looking at Aulder adoringly. 

"It's not. I have no idea what's wrong with it." Aulder rolled their eyes and got up from the bed and Put back on their tunic.

"Leaving?" Lyros sounded disappointed.

"Yes, well, there is still the necromancer threat. I must prepare." Aulder said leaving the room, and Hin followed them chirping angrily until Lyros picked her up again.

"I don't like your bird," Aulder sneered and closed the door. Hin huffed. Her feathers puffed up around her chest and neck. She shook herself to settle and had to readjust her feathers again. This was getting exhausting.

Lyros put her down on a towel that was in a box. There were some water and some birdseed bowls in the box also. She walked from the water to the birdseed inspecting it. Then Lyros put his face down close to where she was and whispered, "I don't care if you're strange."

For a moment Hin was frustrated that she couldn't cross her arms and glare, so she settled on unfolding her wings and holding them in an odd way to mimic putting hands on hips, though the tips did not exactly bend inwards. Lyros laughed. Then he got dressed and as he walked out the door, he said, "I wonder if they found that strange little human yet."

Hin just huffed as the door closed. Then she cried. She cried harder the more her aspirations came out as horrid raspy bird notes.

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