by T.A. Novak
Though out of focus, I could see it circling above through the branches. I could no longer move as I lay encrusted in my snowy tomb. How long have I been here? Sleep or maybe death kept coming and going. I had no hunger, no thirst. I trembled, but could not sense my body move.
There he is again, his eyes seemingly fixed on me as he hung above. I want to move—must move, but can’t. He was gone again.
Oh yes, the gopher hole—a broken leg a mile from the truck—and now a desert storm. Maybe they’ll find the dog and look for me? Maybe, but when?
The snow covered me, but was it enough to hide me from that circling above? I want to be seen—be found. Just not by him.
The black form appeared again. Lower, much lower. I can make out his gnarled, red ugly head. Maybe if I blink my eyes? Damn it, he’s gone. I prayed that he was gone for good.
With a gentle flap of his wings he thumped down upon my chest. My heart raced. Slowly he turned, canting his small head, one eye looking deep into mine. He hissed and grunted through his ivory hooked beak. I quickly blinked and blinked again. A swish of wings moved him to the top of the mesquite tree within sight.
He waited. He had all the time in the world. Mine was running out.
(T.A. Novak is a retired technical writer from the Dow Corning Corp. in Midland, Michigan. He is a bird hunter while wintering in New Mexico, and a one-time police officer in Detroit. (Seven Years.) He is the author of “Among the Tin Cans and Broken Glass,” a novel about a police officer in Detroit during the 1960’s.)