A 291 word story written for the Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 8/12/19.
It had not rained for weeks. The ground was packed hard and solid, too dry for any planting. Bags of seed stood waiting, but the rain just did not come.
Finally, the clouds built up and rain fell in torrents. Too wet now; planting would have to wait for the soil to drain, for even the tractors would find themselves bogged down in sodden, water-logged soil.
It was getting late in the year. Planting had to be done and so it was. The tractors were out from sunrise to sunset, trundling their way back and forth across the fields, setting the seed. The farmers reassured themselves and each other that it would be okay. The seed would take, the crops would grow; they were not staring in to the face of a hungry winter.
Clouds of a different kind began to form on the horizon. Crows in their hundreds, hungry for anything they could get, including that recently planted seed. If the birds were not going to murder the crop, action would have to be taken.
The cracking sound of a bullet randomly split apart the peace, as crow-scarers sounded day and night. The villagers grew short-tempered from lack of sleep. It was a choice of anxiety or noise, neither of which made for restful slumber, but the crows dispersed, the sky became clear and the farmers relaxed.
‘Too soon, too soon,’ the caws seemed to say. Not one raven, but scores of them feasted on the seed. They were not scared of the flapping and the shouting, the cracks of the scarers that did them no harm.
The ravens swooped in and gorged themselves, before leaving the villagers with no choice but to ration their supplies for yet another year.