Mika stepped out of his hut and looked carefully about in the dim, misty morning light. The coast was clear so he ran to the back of the village and followed the secret trail he had been carefully blazing these many months.
Slipping through and covering the entrance behind him, he quickly made his way up the path listening to the birdcalls and the chattering of the monkeys as they telegraphed his passing. After a vigorous climb up the steep hill to where the trees thinned a bit he took a sharp left before the waterfall and came to a clearing. Soon he reached the hut he had built to suit his purpose.
Certain that he hadn’t been followed, he pulled back the covering and surveyed the space. Everything was in order. His treasure was safe. He unpacked the items he brought with him and sat down to think things through. He took out his drawing and studied it, using the crude measuring device he had made to check dimensions. He deemed it likely that he could finish his project before the rising of the new moon.
He sat back, exhausted from the climb and daydreamed about how things would be. They were wrong. He just knew it. He would show them. They would be angry if they knew what he was up to. They would be fearful that the gods would punish them all for his work, but they were wrong, and he, Mika, would be a legend when they saw what he could do.
He got out the canvas he had salvaged from that wrecked sailboat he had been lucky enough to happen on to before anyone else in the village had known about it. It had been the start of his project, which, until then had only been a dream. Along with the other items from the boat he had secreted away he had everything he needed, along with the vines and wood he had carefully collected, to build his contraption.
It had come to him in a dream long ago. One day he would fly. It was part of the oral tradition of his island village that man was not meant to do such a thing. It was told that the gods would punish anyone who dared to do such a thing. The village elders always cursed at the airplanes that occasionally flew overhead. They believed, indeed they told everyone, that those machines were evil.
The white men that came from time to time on they’re ships said that it was a good thing, but they were run off when they did. It was wrong, that’s what the elders always said. But Mika had the urge. Ever since the dream he had as a young boy. He set to work, assembling the pieces on the ground, making sure everything would fit right. He worked as long as he dared and then headed back. Soon the time would come.
The days passed quickly, and having few duties in the village due to his age, Mika was able to get away and work on his glider frequently. He always took his bow with him and brought back some food as his excuse for being away. Soon the day came when he could assemble it. His hands shook as he carefully tied everything in place, just as he had seen it in his dream so long ago.
He looked up at the peak where he would jump out into space from. It was covered in mist, as it usually was. He willed himself to be brave and gathered up his new creation and put it on the sled he had devised to haul it up to the peak. It was a long arduous climb, and it took him much longer than he had anticipated.
As he climbed he could see storm clouds moving in from the West. He hoped that they would hold off, he was determined to fly this very day. He had waited so long nothing would stop him now. The wind was steady and it would all be right with a bit of luck. He couldn’t wait to see the look on the faces of the villagers below, as he, Mika, flew above them like a mighty sea bird.
When he got to the top he rested a bit. The thunderheads were moving in. Should he do it anyway? He had to. He had come this far. He would make it a short flight. Just enough to show them, show them all, that he, Mika was right. The gods would not be angry, he just knew it.
He stepped into the frame of the glider and took a deep breath. Running for all he was worth toward the edge he closed his eyes and took a giant leap, willing his wings to carry him forward. It worked. He looked down, and there below him was the village. He was flying!
He glided lower and lower, steering himself over the village. His people had spotted him, and they stood shouting and pointing at him. The village elders came running out to see what the commotion was about. They were stunned. They began chanting and dancing in a circle. Mika didn’t care, he was flying at long last. He circled over the village, revelling in his glory.
As the thunderheads advanced overhead he paid them no mind. The wind was picking up, and he knew he should glide down to the beach and land, but he was so elated. It was more glorious than he imagined. As the village elders continued to chant and dance it began to rain. Mika began his descent and as he did a bolt of thunder came out of nowhere and struck. The glider fell swiftly to the ground as the villagers looked on in horror. They ran to his burnt body, tangled in the remains of his contraption.
The village elders came and surveyed the scene. They shook their heads and told the others that this was the punishment of the gods for Mika’s arrogance. They buried him the next day, and his name was never spoken again in the village.