Dangers of Birds Overhead

World Building from the Inside Out, Part 2

barn-owl-1107397_1280Last week we looked at the first question from Janeen Ippolito’s world building blog. This week’s question about my main character is a great one:

A bird poops on her. How does she handle it?

Brought up to believe that animals are dangerous, being pooped on by a bird would only confirm Iskra’s sense that she should fear the world and everything in it. She’d feel attacked and have a hard time seeing the event as just a random occurrence that could happen to anyone.

Along with believing that animals are dangerous, any who use them in their daily work are considered to have a risky profession. Farmers of chickens, goats, sheep or cows fall into this category. The same holds true for traders, who use horses to pull their wagons, or the King’s Guard, who ride them.

Dogs and cats are only kept for their usefulness, never as pets. They’d be seen as dirty and dangerous.

But because she’s spent so much of her life with the need for preparedness and safety drilled into her mind, dealing with the actual mess wouldn’t be much of a bother for her. She’d competently clean up herself and her clothing.

The embarrassment, the sense of being different from others would be more distressing. She’d wonder if people would view her as “unsafe,” one of the worst insults someone could throw at another.

Personally, negative surprises set her heart to racing and her breath to grow ragged, almost on the verge of sobs. But because she doesn’t want others to see that weakness, she has an almost iron control over herself that enables her to fake it, to appear calm and controlled at all times.

Negative surprises are simply another reminder of the need to be constantly on guard, alert for any danger. Her instinct would be to flee, to take cover, to look for another possible source of attack. She’d be very skittish the next few times birds flew overhead. She’d also, in her private insecurity, have to wonder if the birds were singling her out.

Which brings us to Iskra’s general outlook on life. Her upbringing has taught her to fear everything, which doesn’t lead to a positive outlook on life. But dim memories of her father’s optimism and persistent belief that things could be better keep intruding into her mind, making her question all that she’s been taught. She wants to think that life could be happy and tranquil, not the daily slog for survival that is all she knows.

Next week: How would she deal with an unexpected pregnancy?

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