Raptor Carcass

I find sometimes that just going for a walk in the grass parallel to the sidewalk, swinging my keys on a lanyard, helps clear my  head. Often I find new things or puzzle out some part of a story I am writing just by letting my mind breathe with somewhat idle thought outside. It was on one such walk that I happened across the mostly stripped carcass of a bird.

Initially I was sad to see the left over bone and feathers but then I was fascinated. Upon the first inspection something about it seemed odd. I picked up a small stick, made sure no more scavengers were around, wished the departed soul well, and squatted down to examine the body. Most of it was just bone and lay sprawled across the reddish brown wood chipping at the base of a tree. What had caught my eye in the first place was one still-feathered wing. It seemed the feathers were mostly intact and still attached to the stiff limb and I wondered how the limb could still be stiff so far after rigor mortis. I tipped it gently this way and that, trying to see how the anatomy of the wing was frozen but I couldn’t make sense of the way it was curled up. All I recognized was that it was in the vague shape of a folded wing and one end consisted of the long feathers customarily found at the tip of a wing.

The body was mostly flat, the breastbone caved into the ribs and spine. There was virtually no meat left, just dried sinews and perhaps tendons. Only after I walked around the remains did I realize what had struck me as odd about it: there was no head. I don’t know how I had missed it before but the skull was on the other side of a tree root dividing the area. It still had feathers attached to it but the artist and biologist in me urged me to crouch down and examine the skull. The first thing I noticed was that this wasn’t really a seed or worm eating bird, it was a raptor by the curve of its beak. What would have killed a hunting bird? Another hunter?

I lingered around longer, I’m not sure why, but further down I saw the body of a turtle who was clearly a victim of roadkill. It make me speculate that perhaps the scavenger birds had been picking at the turtle carcass while it was still on the road and perhaps one of them had been hit from not flying out of the way fast enough and had joined the turtle on the menu. Well, that’s rather gruesome, and I thought about introducing the concept of how bizarre the regularity of roadkill is into my only existent futuristic story. The story already has a base contrast between the mechanical ordered advancement of the human society versus the chaotic natural world. It was a small idea but an idea nonetheless.


On the note of story ideas, I am pleased to say I have been on a writing streak of an average of 1,000 words a day for roughly a week now, and I’m still going. I feel like the pink bunny from the old battery commercial rolling over hills and beating on a high school band drum strapped to my chest; I’m just going and going and going and going…

Happy trails until next week~

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