Alain hunched his shoulders against the late October wind. He had failed the science test. A first. But what did he expect? He was in seventh grade, now; he had to study to get good grades. Yet, he let it slide until the…
A rustle from a maple tree turned his head. He saw a flash of fluorescence behind the plume of red and dirty-gold foliage. It flew into a hedge near a parked Elantra. Alain was running before his eyes saw the hawk. Waving his arms, shouting. The Red-tailed Hawk followed the same trajectory as the fluorescent flash, arriving at the hedge a stride, or a flap, before Alain.
Alain was close enough to hit the Hawk – or have an eye gouged by a talon – when the great bird rose away from the hedge leaving his prize on the ground, wounded.
Alain knelt, his cupped hands mimicking a halo, surrounding the fallen bird. Then he scooped it as if it were made of water and would drain through his fingers if he wasn’t careful. He held a parakeet of tapering turquoise and blue luminescence. Dazed, sure. But the Hawk hadn’t left a… Continue reading →
The duck did not miss the girl wearing the yellow T-shirt with the giraffe on the pocket. He missed the bits of bread and lettuce she tossed. But the girl? He didn’t think so.
She yelped and he startled, dropping the lettuce she tossed his way, fluttering back into the glistening pond. One of the older drakes had bitten her hand. He knew what she felt, having received nips on his tail speeding out of their way. Whichever way their bills were pointed was “their way.” They allowed him to paddle in all other directions…unless one of those directions led to bread crusts and lettuce.
He watched the little girl and her father walk away from the pond. He watched her fingers knit into his fingers. He paddled around the bend to the pile of stones where the stream emptied into the pond. He hopped onto the stones and waddled up the stream, eyes ahead. Maybe he missed her a little.
Upstream he saw the little girl walking on the river stones, still holding her father’s hand. Her father swung her onto the grass and they disappeared over the crest of a green knoll.
The duck fluttered onto shore and then over the trees, circling…watching them walk across the great green field toward their home. Continue reading →