Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter

Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter had declared. Cats were vain and cruel, always ready to turn on you. Elk and deer were prey; wear their skins too

long, and even the bravest man became a coward. Bears, boars, badgers, weasels … Haggon did not hold with such. “Some skins you never want to wear, boy. You won’t like what you’d become.” Birds

were the worst, to hear him tell it. “Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in the clouds and you

never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who’ve tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they sit moony, staring up at the bloody blue.”

“Yes.”

“I was sorry, of course. Well, I took the liberty of asking them for your address and communicating with you. I prefer you to one of the men for my pilot; also your little plane rides very comfortably. This morning is wasted, but the

afternoon is still young. I should like to engage you to take me along the coast as usual. Can you meet me in, say, half an hour?”

“Well—” Roberta hesitated.

“You will be well paid. You have not connected, as yet, with another firm, or taken on a passenger?”

“No,” Roberta had to admit. Just then her mother came hurrying in lest the call be53 from her husband. She glanced at her daughter and saw the look of doubt on the young face.

“What is it, dear?” she asked softly. Roberta put the instrument low and spoke softly.

“Mrs. Pollzoff wants me to take her up this afternoon.”

“Perhaps you will feel more comfortable if you are flying,” her mother suggested.

you’d become.” Birds were the worst, to hear him tell it. “Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in

the clouds and you never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who’ve tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they

 

sit moony,

staring

up at the

bloody blue.”

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