The force in the lift began to lessen as they reached an opening of a branch. They all followed Elijah out into the branch tunnel. It was dim after the brightness they had first experienced. Not too far along the tunnel of the branch leading away from the trunk was a set of windows. They stopped briefly to admire the view. Reagan judged they were three quarters of the way up the tree and well above the forest. They could see for miles and miles.
“Wow” Layla said stepping back from the windows. “That is high.”
Windows continued to dot the walls as they walked further out in the branch. They could feel a slight breeze that was growing steadily stronger. They reached a place where the tunnel branched into two slightly smaller tunnels. It was unnoticed at first but obvious once Reagan began to look for it, the tunnel had been narrowing slightly. The group, following the Raven, turned down the left hand side of the split and after a dozen steps was greeted with an opening stretching before them. It was the source of the breeze. A large green deck stretched out from the opening. Another green “leaf” covered part of the deck.
“This is where I would have landed. But obviously your vehicle could not make a landing here. So we walked, and floated. Take a look if you would like.” Elijah spoke calmly. His feathers ruffled slightly in the breeze wafting in from the opening in the branch to the landing pad.
Reagan, Clara, and Olivia walked out on the deck. It was made of a very sturdy ceramic. Layla hung back. “No thanks. I can see fine from here,” she offered at their quizzical looks.
Reagan now noticed that each leaf hanging from the branches surrounding them was much thicker than he had first realized. Each one served as a room, or in clusters of leaves, as a whole house possibly. He could also make out other landing areas, usually near branch junctions. He walked near the edge and peered down. He could see the trunk stretching down to the ground far below. He realized that many of the trees were similar to this one, housing a whole community of Ravens. He stepped a little closer and noticed the lack of a guardrail around the deck. Of course, what need would a bird have for guardrails? It was a long, long way down. Maybe Layla had the right idea. He moved slowly back from the edge. He sighed and moved to join her in the tunnel.
Clara laughed at him. “A space captain afraid of heights?” She mocked, as she stood motionless near the edge.
They resumed their walk and came to a cluster of leaves. Elijah rang a discrete buzzer at the opening. And they waited. It was not long until an aged Raven appeared whose dark feathers had mostly turned gray. He slowly inspected his guests. He greeted Elijah coolly.
“You have brought me humans.” It was not a question, but a statement directed at Elijah.
Read another sample here
Read another sample here