Narrated by Patricia Hope
Darkness descends on Earth. Only a quarter moon, a million stars light the way for nocturnes. The bird flies in stealth skimming above bush and bog— wingspan, ten feet side-to-side. It turns its head halfway around, hears, sees, hones in on one rodent running, desperate to hide. Sees, even from one hundred yards, hears the soft trample of earth, senses the quickened heartbeat. Zygodactyl claws stretch apart, grab the creature. The carnivore will eat its own kind if rodents, fish, birds elude him. It has few enemies. Dinosaurs not seen for seven million years. Its nemesis will not walk the earth for another fifty-five million. By then, its offspring will be smaller, shorter wingspan, but with senses as keen, adaptive to the fenland, to the dry, cold-hot forest treetops, in parliaments, studies, bazaars. Despite the bird’s wisdom man will believe it brings death to their village, accuse it of stealing their souls. Today, it tears into lunch, regurgitating bone and fur. Belly full, it watches the sun rise from its mangrove perch, raises its lower eyelids, dreams. Something primordial stirs murky marsh, starless sky, a garden where sleep begets a mate, a boat afloat for forty nights, the olive branch not yet broken.
Author Bio: Patricia Hope is an award-winning writer with dozens of published works in magazines, anthologies, newspapers, and journals. Her latest work is a novel, Lonely Way Back Home, published in 2017.