more about the world. The dim light cast by the lamp outside was a poor
substitute for the daylight during school hours, but Nimbus dared not read
then. Daytime was for absorbing as much of the lessons as she could, trying
hard not to sneak glances at the tempting words below.
Nimbus was two-thirds through the real estate page when a wet Splat!
spoiled the rest of her reading. She furrowed her brows and glanced into the
shadows of the hollowed-out coconut that hung at the top of the cage.
“Do you mind?” Nimbus chirped.
A chuckle came from the coconut’s opening. “Not at all!”
Zephyr was in her usual mood.
Nimbus fluttered to the coconut birdhouse and perched on top, causing
it to swing wildly. She poked her head inside and frowned at her assailant.
If Nimbus was small, Zephyr was tiny in comparison. Half the size of a
normal zebra finch, Zephyr was very light brown, almost white, with delicate
stripes along her back and eyes. But she more than made up for her size with
her audacious spirit. Like the true rascal she was, Zephyr wasn’t sorry for her
Nimbus’s frown deepened into a scowl. “I was reading that. It was
“So, you pooped on it!” Nimbus fluttered her wings, causing the coconut
to swing more wildly still.
Zephyr giggled. “Faster, Nim!”
Nimbus started giggling, too. She couldn’t help herself. Soon, the birds
were whirling and bouncing, twittering with glee as the coconut whizzed
around. As usual, just as the pair was having the most amount of fun, an
irritated voice erupted across the cage.
“Stop that maniacal swinging at once! Really, you’d think it was a
spring day the way you two are whirling about.” Luna, the oldest and largest
finch, fluffed her snow-white feathers indignantly. Nimbus peeked into the
coconut just in time to see Zephyr puff her feathers and waggle her beak in
secret imitation as Luna continued, unaware of the mockery.
“It’s bad enough being subject to incessant noise by those insufferable
children during the day, and their dreadful cage rattling is enough to shake
my feathers right out. Just when a poor bird thinks she can get some quiet
solitude, you two start beleaguering my ears with your silly acrobatics!”
Luna concluded with a “Humph!” and a punctuating feather fluff.