Seabirds

Yesterday’s writing prompt was an image. It’s one I took myself and I decided it would be an interesting thing to write from.

Seagull alighting on rocks“There’s no sign of them,” White Gull called out, alighting on the next rock.

“Are you certain?” asked the chief. The chief stood in front of the others, as was the tradition when greeting messengers.

“Certain,” White Gull replied, alert eyes fixed on the chief. “I scanned as you told me to, flying outward in ever widening circles from this spot. For three days I did this, resting on the water only when my tired wings gave out. I heard no sound nor saw any sight of your enemies. They have moved on.”

“That is good,” said the chief. “I commend you for your diligence. You have rendered a great service to my clan.” Behind him, the others bobbed their heads in agreement.

The chief continued, “We have caught you food in return for your labors.” He spread one dark wing and stretched it out toward the inlet. Two of his clan rose up from their places and flapped down to the water line, where they bowed to White Gull and then indicated with their wings a sheltered place among the rocks.

White Gull saw a flash of silver. Fresh fish, a treat. These birds were hunters, a skill he lacked.* He bowed to the chief and again to the clan members. “I thank you.”

“You may eat,” said the chief, and White Gull flapped over to the spot. The other two bowed to his arrival and then removed themselves back to the main group.

“Are we safe then, Great?” asked the chief, turning to the lone elder who had been listening from her perch on the lower rock. “What is your counsel?”

The entire clan turned as one to face the elder. She tilted her head slowly from side to side, considering them in each turn. She then stretched her neck out tall and long to survey the horizon.

“I trust the gull has done his duty,” she said. Some of the clan birds sighed in relief, though the chief remained waiting.

“But the danger is great,” the elder continued. “These rocks will not be safe for long. Again our enemies shall come, and again, until we are driven from this place as we have been driven from all the others.”

From within the group came a single squawk, muffled quickly by a wing. There was a quick beating of feathers and shuffling of feet, and then the group was silent again.

“Our numbers are much reduced,” said the elder. “We cannot fight. Instead we must think, and plan.”

—-

*Actually I think seagulls can catch fish. But psh, facts!

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3 responses to “Seabirds

    • Erik’s response was “I think the enemy is seals.” I think he may be right. At first I was thinking they were some other birds but Erik convinced me that the real threat was more likely to come from the water. ;b

      The female elder was a last-minute addition when I posted this. In the original freewrite the elder was male. Why? I have no idea!

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