The next passing human isn't a human at all.

Sorrelwing preened herself languorously, nestling down in the midday sun. She found her mind drifting through thoughts of the Old Country. She'd wandered far since those days but even so, on a day like this, when the air was still, she could still remember the plummy sounds of ribs cracking and the sweet shrillness of screaming Thessalians echoing around the gully.

She raised herself and paced impatiently, feeling a sharp discomfort in one of her left teeth two rows back. It felt like a piece of hoof, and despite her efforts, worrying it with her forked tongue, it wouldn't budge.  Her frustration prevented her from remaining still and in her peripatetic discomfiture, she found herself wandering onto a more open road next to a sheer cliff face. She landscape was craggy and a uniform ruddy brown colour, as if the deity who'd created it had gone through a picasso-like 'terracotta period'.

In the middle of the road ahead of her was a small yellow pile a few inches high. A quick olfactory examination indicated that it was birdseed. Sorrelwing wondered where it could have come from. She squinted into the distance along the road to her left. Nothing. To her right, there was nothing for miles along it, except...

In the far distance she could see a dustcloud on the road, growing rapidly larger. She wondered what it could be - a cattle train? A group of defenseless pilgrims? Perhaps a wagon laden with meat? Slavering at the thought, she backed into a crag that afforded her the best view, ready to pounce. Soon, she heard whatever it was approaching at speed. She'd have to be fast to catch them. There came the sound of skidding, and whatever her prey was, came to a halt just before her eyeline. She wriggled herself out of the crevice and poked her head over a rocky spur. There, she saw what at first glance reminded her of an emu. It was a flightless bird, with blue plumage that alternated light and dark, with a large fan-like tail that seemed to serve no purpose. Its beak was large and gave the impression of being fixed in an asinine grin, while its large naive-looking eyes put one in mind of an imbecile. This bird was pecking rapidly at the pile of yellow birdseed, which disappered before her very eyes, leaving only bare asphalt. The bird looked up without noticing her, and Sorrelwing told herself now was the time to strike. Still, she vacillated. Something was not quite right about this scene. Before she knew it, the bird had uttered a strange call, "Mi Mi!" and sped off once more, a dust cloud trailing in its wake.

Sorrelwing slunk out of her hiding place, chastising herself over her failure to catch the defenseless creature. She had the unusual sense, however, that she'd narrowly escaped a worse fate. She stared out through the silent landscape, when a sudden crash interrupted her reverie. A large black object had landed on the road, just at the spot where the birdseed had previously been. It resembled the large metal worktops used by human blacksmiths. Sorrelwing looked on it disbelief as it was followed by an overhanging rock, and what appeared to be some sort of jackal or coyote.

Whatever was going on here, Sorrelwing wanted no part of it. She slunk back up the hillside to where she had been waiting. evidently this area was not a promising hunting ground.

The End

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