Faster, faster, the gray dove thinks as he beats his wings. The red-tailed hawk keeps easy pace slightly behind and above serving as a net to block off escape to the sky.
The large obstacle ahead gives the dove little choice. But wait, there’s a small opening to the woods beyond—an escape hatch. Seeking refuge, the dove aims for the opening full speed ahead..
“What was that?” I yell from the kitchen.
“A bird flew into the window,” Mark answers from the recliner in the great room where he is reading news on his laptop.
“That was a lot louder than usual,” I say as I carried my cup of tea down the long hall past the open dining room and into the great room where the opposite wall is dominated by a stone fireplace reaching to the peak of the cathedral ceiling. The stone is flanked all the way to the slanted ceiling on both sides by windows that bring the surrounding woods into the room.
“Did you see it? Was it a big bird?”
“A mourning dove. It’s dead.”
I cross the room and look outside. On the deck a large gray dove lies motionless, it’s neck turned to an awkward angle.
“It might have broken its neck.”
A little later Mark gets a shovel from the garage to dispose of the dead bird. When he comes back in he says, “The bird is gone.”
“Do you think the hawk that hangs around in the trees got it?” I ask.
“Maybe it wasn’t dead,” Mark says.
“The beauty of fiction,” Sherrie, my creative writing teacher said a few years back, “is you can make the story end however you want.”
The dove opens his eyes. “Wow. My head hurts,” he thinks. “I feel like a branch fell on me.” He gets to his feet and stumbles around the wooden floor. He stands still for a moment and ruffles his feathers, “— it must have been a big branch from the sycamore tree.” He flaps his wings twice and hops onto the deck railing. Then he glides off the deck and disappears into the woods below.
Copyright © 2011 by Christine M. Grote