Buzzards at Dusk
by Juliet Wilson
Dusk. Beyond the branches a bird. Black like a crow but bigger. A buzzard perhaps.
You tug my hand. ‘Let’s go, it’s getting dark!’
I put my binoculars away and smile. ‘Okay, hometime!’
We carry on along the path, mud squelching under our hiking boots. The thin seeping rain gets heavier, the sky darkens with storms. Branches hit our heads. The buzzard calls like a child in pain. Closer now.
Suddenly the path opens into a clearing. Not the flower strewn grassy clearing we remember, but one dotted with stumps and dying trees.
You pull your coat tighter. I can feel you shivering.
Buzzards gather overhead. Ten, eleven, twelve. More than I’ve ever seen. Twenty, twenty one, twenty two, more and more flying in. All whimpering. Wheeling around overhead. I know how a mouse must feel.
Suddenly lightning. A dark figure appears in the clearing. Thunder. Hailstones sting our faces, dash against the tree-stumps.
The figure approaches. Another flash of lightning. A deathly face under a dark hood. Black eyes glitter.
A harsh voice thunders ‘You don’t belong here’.
The sky darkens with descending buzzards.