Brian, a Sky-Being, stared out at the wonderful blue expanse that his kind was named for. Sky-Beings were three-inch-tall humanoids with faintly blue skin, blond hair, and eyes that where so light in color that they almost appeared white.

Out in the air were multiple other Sky-Beings. Each one was out on his or her flying-machine. Brian could not come up with a machine of his own. Every attempt wound up on the hard, unforgiving ground below.

It seemed every flying-machine that Brian touched failed within a few days after contact. Once, Brian tried to fly his mother's Bird-Mobile. Two days later, the gas pedal stopped working. Brian had not been allowed near the Bird-Mobile for three weeks after that.

Suddenly, there were a few puffs of steam and the sound of mechanical workings. Brian's younger brother, Timmy, landed nearby, his mechanical leaf wings strapped to his back. Timmy folded back the handles of his machine and smiled at his brother.

"How's the machine coming along?" Timmy asked, his voice dripping with fake sweetness.

Brian didn't answer. Unexpectedly, a small gust blew through the trees. The breeze brushed softly against the backs of Brian's hands. Glowing yellow lines showed up against the faintly blue skin, marking his hands with the ancient Sky-Rune jaggedly spelling out "storm".

Cupping his hands around his mouth, Brian called, "The storm wind blew! All come in!" No one was near enough to hear the message. Timmy had to go out and transmit the message to one of the Sky-Beings. Timmy groaned; he never liked transmitting messages when everyone else was too far off to hear his brother's weak calling.

That was Brian's one strength: weather foretelling by wind. He couldn't build, draw, nor even sing as well as the other Sky-Beings. His IQ was far behind that of his classmates and he was the only Seventh-Year-School-Goer whose mother had to drop him off before school and pick him up after it.

Inside the Great Dwelling that all the Sky-Beings shared, a warm bonfire was blazing and on it roasted a plucked cardinal. Cardinals were actually quite the delicacy among the Sky-Beings, their meat being sweet and very delicious with a pinch of rosemary.

Brian sniffed the air, taking in the pleasant scent. Willow, the knowledgeable wife to the chief, gently sprinkled a pinch of lemon juice onto the roasting bird. She was in charge of all the meals the Sky-Beings ate. Her wisdom had also saved the tribe from many dilemmas.

The wonderful aroma also had drawn the chief himself. He stood close to his wife, his nose nearly in the flames. "Back away, dear," Willow said softly, "Lest your nose be caught in the fire."

"I've been through worse!" the chief boasted. "That old bat… Oh, what was his name? Old Slithe! That was it! Anyway, that old Slithe put me through worse than a burn from your cooking-fire!"

Soon, the pleasing fragrance brought in the others and the evening meal began. Before they ate, the chief stood and spoke a few words of blessing. Then the Sky-Beings lifted their voices in song:

"Oh, bless this meal brought by our ancestors, standing beside us in our vespers, singing with us our song, swelling their voices with us unto the very end. Birds and bats shall rise, bearing us up to the skies. Their sweet singing shall join our own, while below us, our enemies groan. This meal the ancestors bring here, now welcome them with cheer!"

The meal quickly went down the throats of the cheerful Sky-Beings, who lingered afterwards to chat with one another. Brian, on the other hand, disappeared to his room in his parents' apartment. Once there, he slipped an old sketchpad of his grandfather's out from underneath his bed. He slid quietly into the hidden alcove in his closet.

In his alcove, Brian pulled a seemingly ordinary rock out of his pocket and tapped it with his finger. The rock feebly flickered for a moment, and then glowed brightly with blue light. Clamping the rock tightly in his teeth, Brian flipped open the cover of the sketchpad.

The face that greeted him on the worn first page was his own, seven or eight years younger, the colors and hues matching perfectly. The Brian on the page grinned broadly at his older self, oblivious to the pain of the outside. The real Brian smiled sadly around the rock at the drawing and turned the page.

The next page showed a rather snake-like bat, Slithe, circling within the timeless hold of the paper. Slithe had been drawn to perfect detail, skeletal and ugly with slick black fur that, in real life, seemed to shine even when there was no light to speak of. The bat's almost saw-like teeth were bared, ready to strike those who dared near him.

Without notice, the voices of Timmy and their parents became audible. Hurriedly, Brian tapped the rock again, extinguishing its light. He dove out of his alcove and slid the sketchpad under the bed. He leapt into bed, threw blankets over himself, and pretended to be half-asleep.

Brian's mother came into his room and, as expected, asked him if he was alright. "I'm fine, mom. Just tired; that's all," Brian answered. His mother looked at him closely, shook her head, and left the room.

As soon as she closed the door, Brian revealed the rock's light again and fetched the sketchpad. He flipped through the sketches and drawings until he came to a picture of a pale bat sleeping curled up like a four-legged mammal would. The fur of the bat was the same creamy, milky white that Brian had once seen in a pearl.

It wasn't the bat that held Brian's attention, but the inscription under it. The stone the bat slept on had been carved into, with the ancient Rune-Words that Brian knew so well. He ran his fingers lightly over the Rune-Words, reading them with barely a sound. "My savior sleeps by day; the dark does not daunt him. My savior flies on high; the wind does not hinder him. He looks into the eye of death; yet he does not die. He is the spawn of death; yet he will save as the light."

All weariness left Brian like a bird leaves a falling tree. There, standing at the side of his bed, was his grandfather, who had long been dead. His weary eyes were no longer dim, and his frail body was made strong again.

He spoke, with a voice renewed in strength, "The prophesy of the stone will soon be fulfilled in your lifetime, before your very eyes. You will see the pale bat shown here, the spawn of death himself, and he will save you before the face of death. Even from death himself he will save you."

Then the apparition was gone. Brian sat still, staring at the place his grandfather's ghost had been standing not a second before. Then he directed his gaze to the picture, to the bat sleeping peacefully upon the prophecy-rock. The Rune-Words burned in Brian's mind, scorching their eerie message in his thoughts.

Sliding the sketchpad, still open to the prophecy, under the bed, Brian lay back. He fell asleep to the memory of his own voice reading the prophecy aloud.