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.