Written for a competition, prompt was an image of a mangled bird on the sand.
|It used to be stunning, but no longer.
No longer my home, no longer my sanctuary, no longer the resting place of my kin. They had every chance to save it, every opportunity... yet they didn’t. The metallic predators were allowed to run free, raining destruction with every passing breath.
And I could see it all.
Gliding high above the clouds in graceful arcs, I stalk my prey, cool air streaming over my gleaming feathers. My eyes, stronger and keener than any mere hawk, scoured the ground. Nothing was beyond my vision, but even I failed to see the incoming horror.
A surging wave of annihilation flooded through the forest, smashing and maiming as the torrent flowed. Every microscopic turn of my head wrought a new scene of horror and ruin. The tide of fatalities surged on, leaving mangled remains strewn in its wake.
Territorial urges whirled through my already sickened stomach as they advanced towards my cosy, string-bark nest. I had to prevent them from continuing their vicious rampage. I extended my powerful wings to their full span and, in a dive worthy of the Titans, I plunged towards them.
The hulking metallic slaughterer pounded rhythmically – THUD... THUD...THUD – whilst smaller, lightweight predators shredded the gnarled branches like rabid dogs attacking scraps of meat. Hacking relentlessly, ripping out lifeless chunks as they continued to carve away at my tree’s flesh.
With its heart gone, cleaved from its ribcage in a savage slash, the tree toppled down with a compressed gust of air. I let out a bloodcurdling shriek. Swooping down, I feared the worst. Deftly dodging the hooked claws of the predator, I desperately hoped that my kin were safe.
In mid-swoop, my eyes caught a glimpse of her limp, lifeless form. My beloved mate rested on the thick, granular sand of the lagoon, her wings twisted and bleeding, ravaged by the violent combination of claw and crash. Her magnificent feathers, once so glossy and lustrous, were now swathed in tiny crystallised sand particles. So beautiful in life, she had become even more so in death; sombre and hollow, yet radiant.
A blend of despair and salted teardrops clouded my vision. My life had lost all meaning now that she was gone. Ideas ricocheted in the depths in my mind. Maybe, just maybe, the beasts could be stopped. Maybe I could change everything.
I soared into the sky once more, steeling myself for a final, memorable dive. Without hesitation, I plunged, aiming for the unmerciful, steel heart of my wife’s executioner. I felt the intense crash as we collided and found myself falling swiftly to the ground. I optimistically hoped that I had caused havoc and wanton damage to the predator. As my heart began failing, vision falling into shadow, I ventured one fleeting glance at my enemy, triumphant in its destruction... unscathed.