Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Entry #11

Hawk’s Prey
by Sarah Laurenson


His gaze swept the barren ground that separated Haven from the forest. A rustle of a leaf, a flicker in the dirt. He tilted one wingtip down to spiral closer to the movement. There. A mole burrowing to hide from the rising sun. He folded his wings and plummeted towards the ground. No shadow betrayed him as the tip of the sun barely edged over the horizon. The moon had set hours ago. He gauged his speed and the distance carefully. Judging the time was right, he snapped out his wings and stretched his talons towards the earth. His muscles screamed with the effort of shifting position and holding his wings straight out against the wind. He had to cut his speed. And he had to be in the right position to catch his prey. The ground raced towards him. He reached for the mole.

He slammed into the ground and tumbled end for end, coming to rest with his beak buried in the sand, his wings flat out on each side and his talons stretched out behind him. He jerked his head up, shoved a wingtip into the sand and flopped his body over. Pulling his legs into his chest, he stared at the mole wriggling in his grasp. Not his first crash. But it was his first catch. He clacked his beak. Grit crunched in his mouth. He did it. He caught food.

He stared into its eye. Yes. Just a mole. Just food.

49 comments:

catvibe said...

I loved this! I could just imagine the happiness of the young Hawk on his first food getting adventure. Awesome! Loved the descriptive writing, I could really get into the body of the hawk.

Craig said...

I liked how you make the hawk seem so competent and in control in the first paragraph only to have crash in the second. Takes the reader completely by surprise.

Aniket said...

Loved the detailing. The images were all well drawn out.

Who doesn't like hawks? :)

pjd said...

Is this the first one where the bird is the main character? I think so.

Sarah, I think you did a good job of showing the novice's first success. The first paragraph has some details I would not expect to see normally because of natural design and instinct (e.g., the muscles screaming, the focus on picking the right timing). But that's what novices do... they concentrate and analyze.

Nicely written.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thanks all!

I think this is a bit misleading as he's a shifter and not really a hawk. It's the start of a YA fantasy that's currently on my back burner.

I like that it's believable as a hawk but with some oddities. Makes me feel like I hit the right chord.

pjd said...

Ah ha!

Now I understand why the last line is significant. I didn't pick up on the shifter, though knowing it after the fact ratchets up my enjoyment of and respect for the piece. Even better done than I thought at first! :-)

Bernita said...

Not a passive verb in sight.
You got me to the point that when you said "stared into its eye" I could actually see him cock his head sideways.

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a super description!

Kartik said...

Neat piece! Focused pieces are never easy, but you pulled it off!

Lena said...

Great scene. It was as if I could see it with my own eyes.

Chris Eldin said...

Excellent, excellent writing! It's hard for me to stay with writing that's not broken up with dialogue, but your piece kept and held my attention the entire way. Your descriptions and details are so authentic, so real. Very well done. I think this book you're working on sounds amazing!

Michelle H. said...

Great idea to use the bird as the main character! The description has the reader experiencing each and every nuance of the strike.

wrath999 said...

Cool and vivid story

Tara said...

I was right there watching every move he made!

Amias said...

Like being right there ... this is very good, I so enjoyed it.

Jared Culpepper said...

i was surprised at first to read that this is part of something larger you're working on, it does feel independently stable.

JaneyV said...

Sarah this is wonderful. I love being part of your Hawk's first hunt. The descriptions of the flight and attack were flawless. Brilliant!

Terri said...

Yep, I only echo what everyone else has said. Great description of his first catch.

laughingwolf said...

very well done, sarah :)

Meghan said...

I love the detail. Very well-written.

Roger said...

I have to agree. The beauty of this short piece is in the details!

Beth Harar said...

Lovely descriptions!

adrienne trafford said...

incredible - you write like you know what it really feels like to fly

Blodeuedd said...

I like this, I am up there with him

David Barber said...

Very well written piece, Sarah. Great imagery.

austere said...

Authentic JL Seagull feel to this one.

Didn't catch the shifter, though.

Aimee Laine said...

Wow! I love your perspective on this! So cool to be the bird! :)

kashers said...

In response to the question 'If you were an animal, what animal would you want to be?', I've always said a bird. Thanks for giving me the wings to be so.

You provided many great lines here, but the 'He clacked his beak' was a gem of simplicity.

Loved it.

J. Randick said...

Very cool details and wonderful imagery. I enjoyed the sense of urgency you crafted as he plummeted.

J. Randick

madhumita said...

I was the young hawk! The prize.. after the fall....exhileration!

Lee Hughes said...

Loved the learning curve angle. His admittance that, yes, he'd crashed plenty of times, but this time he'd caught something. Escpecially the last line about it just being a mole. You don't know whether he is just labelling it as food, or just a mole as in its blind and was an easy kill and he should be aiming for better.

Preeti said...

Flawless is the only word that comes to my mind when i key this comment. I have never read anything more smooth. Not once did my mind waver. Not once did i stop. its like one big gulp of water. just one gulp and its over and you feel nice and cool from inside.

I just cant decide which line enthralled me. every single sentence is a masterpiece.

I loved this. Totally.

Laurel said...

AWESOME, Sarah! I did pick up on shifter based on the struggle he was having with his form. The last line nailed it for me.

Great descriptions, too. I've seen hawks picking off field mice and moles in our yard and you paint the action beautifully.

Harish said...

Adrenaline! :)

sylvia said...

I love the feeling of the build-up of action. The final line: I was surprised by the "just" but then I saw your explanation in the comments. I hope you do get to write more on this one, it sounds so intriguing!

truevoid said...

The ground raced towards him sums up the first paragraph. super narration. though i felt the second paragraph did not match up to the build-up in the first paragraph. all in all nicely written!

raine said...

The descriptions and details are wonderful--so much so that I felt rather sorry for the mole.
Bravo, very well done!

angel said...

This is a fantastic piece!

MRMacrum said...

Having witness more than a few Hawks plying their trade in my area, I have to say this is the best description of it I have read.

Rabid Fox said...

Pretty good work at giving a glimpse into a bird's PoV. Didn't have much connection with it until the very end, which was a nice payoff. Go bird!

stacy said...

The crash landing is a great twist; I wasn't expecting that. This was exciting to read!

Karen said...

I love the unexpectedness of his incompetency - and then that last line that brings it all into focus. Very tight, good writing.

McKoala said...

For me this is the most vivid of the hawk vs prey stories. The details put us right in the hawk's head, and I love the fact that he's an amateur - it manages to make it witty and yet even more realistic at the same time.

Kurt Hendricks said...

Finally...a bird of prey I can relate to! Well done.

james r tomlinson said...

Action sequences are difficult to write, but you made it look easy.

Jane said...

awww he learned to hunt..great scenes in this, very visual

Deb Smythe said...

Nice job of showing the bird's pov. Nice tight writing as well. I didn't get that he was a shifter, but I do love a good shifter story.

Corra McFeydon said...

This story goes a lot deeper than it appears on first read. The final line makes the piece.

I love the 'window into a moment' feel.

Nice work! Good luck with it! :)

~ Corra McFeydon

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the merits of Mafia Wars or whether Katie Holmes should demand a divorce