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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)

TITLE: Of Sylvidae and Freedom
By Janice Cartwright


Dr. Trochilus pinned her with a beady eye, “How long has this been going on?”

Sylvia dreaded her answer. “Since early spring, I’d say perhaps mid-March.”

“These things don’t get better by themselves, you know."

I hate this.

Did your symptoms come on suddenly?”

“More incremental, I think: it happened to me in stages.”

“Any history of hysteria or melancholy in the family?”

Another buzz-by! Do they offer a special course, ‘How to make your Patient Feel like a Bug on a Hot Rock?’

Sylvia flew home and went straight to bed where she spent the next forty-eight hours wallowing in self. On the third day she had an idea.

Let’s see, Saunders, Schlicting, Seelig… Oh, happy day, here it is, ‘Seiurus, Auro Capillus PH.D., 911 Elm View, Apt. 666.’ If old professor Seiurus doesn’t have an answer, no one will.

In a room knee-deep with books that threatened to topple she spelled out her profound sadness:

“At first I was still able to gather web strands and wind them about the leaf, drill holes evenly, and I could even sew about half-way up. Later, I couldn’t seem to remember how close to the edge to make the openings, or how far apart they should be. And when it came time to stitch, I would get so flustered I couldn’t thread the filament.”

The old don’s non-response was a hirsute top of his head and dull quill that scratched on and on.

I expected erudition, but a small modicum of empathy wouldn’t hurt!

Finally he glanced up. “I think you’re de-evolving.”


"It’s the consensus of the best minds. We now believe some species may mutate in reverse. There’s nothing to be done, nothing at all. You’ll just have to settle. I do have the name of a top-notch old bird that might be able to help you process… let’s see, where did I put that? Here, here it is, Trochilus: maternal ancestry, Polytmus. Brilliant, brilliant line!”

The professor seemed to forget his visitor’s presence then; he returned to his hen scratches. Sylvia’s tiny flicker of hope sputtered and died. Silently she let herself out of the musty nest and winged toward her aerie home.


Sterneus Roseus!

Now where did that come from? For weeks Sylvia had thrashed in the depths of despondency until one day out of the blue, a voice… Sterneus Roseus, Sterneus Roseus.”

Shyly she approached a neighbor, “Have you ever heard of a Sterneus Roseus?”

“Of course!” Cardinalis sang out. Everybody knows Him! Some call Him Pastor Rosy, others, Rosy Pastor. He has another name but its something of a mystery. Would you like to meet Him? It’s not far!”

"How thoughtful of you, but lately I’ve not been very good company."

"All the more reason."

"But he’s not expecting me."

"He expects everyone who comes to see Him."

"But what if he’s not home?"

"He’s always home."

"Alright, then."


"Glad you could make it, Sylvidae" The tone was rich and melodious. "What can I do for you?"

"You knew my name!"


“Something’s wrong with me. Trochilus of Polytmus thinks I have genetic insanity and Seiurus of the Auro Capillus is sure I’m de-evolving."

"And you believe them?"

"They say theirs are the best minds, you know."

"No, I don’t know. There is only One best mind: all others were created by the power of that One. That would make them lesser minds wouldn’t it?"

"Who is that One best mind then?”

"It is the One who is speaking to you! Now, will you tell me what I can do for you?"

"The unthinkable has happened. I’m supposed to be a tailor bird, but sadly I forgot how to sew."

"You haven’t really forgotten; you just needed a reason to come and see me."

"You mean I’m not de-evolving?"

"How can something de-evolve that didn’t evolve in the first place? I designed and created you in perfect harmony with your environment, which I also created."

"I’m not crazy?"

"No. Just sad and worried because you didn’t know the Truth."

"What’s going to happen to me?”

"You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 KJV)

“What, I mean Who is Truth?”

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6 KJV)

"Then I’m free of my sadness?"

"Free as the bird I made you to be!"

“I can sew again?”

“You always could!”

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This article has been read 924 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Misti Chancellor08/03/07
I liked your story, especially the ending. :D Good job!
Dee Yoder 08/03/07
Creative and thought-provoking! I never would have thought of de-evolving, but I'm sure someone in the scientific world has given it serious thought-ha. I like your main "character", and the Solution to the problem!
LaNaye Perkins08/04/07
I know this is a 'sad' entry. But, I found it to be completely delightful! Well done!
Lisa Holloway08/06/07
This is extremely creative and well written. I kept reading to find out what would happen...and wasn't disappointed!
Dara Sorensen08/07/07
Very creative indeed! I enjoyed every word. ^_^
Martha Ford08/09/07
Oh! Janice! This is such a delightful approach to a very difficult topic. So much of our sadness comes from not accepting to Whom we belong: the only One we should go to for help. Beautiful writing carried the plot along with perfect timing. A great story for children!