Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Henry Hawk

Photo by: Katrina Patterson

Henry Hawk

Short Story - Fiction

A log filled creek, running quietly behind a small subdivision, a wooded hillside, small fish and salamanders swimming in the shallow water, made a perfect home for Henry. He sat still as a squirrel played on the limb a few feet from him. As the squirrel jumped to another limb, Henry shifted his attention to the creek, spotting a salamander crawling along the bottom, tilted his head slightly taking aim, then swooping down through the trees to the creek, he snatched the unsuspecting salamander with his claws and continued up away from the water to the roof of a small shed.

  An early spring storm pushed up from the gulf, spreading tornados through Alabama and Georgia. The nest blew through the limbs as the large tree crashed down across the creek. Henry limped around with one wing dragging in the mud. The shed provided shelter from the heavy rain, open underneath on the creek side where Henry found a dry spot and rested his broken wing.

Unable to fly, Henry would hop up and down the creek bank looking for food, then return to his new home under the shed to rest. He missed soaring through the trees and chasing the other hawks, but life was different now.

The small backyard world had changed, Henry had grown up watching the squirrels and rabbits run through the yards. He normally swooped down on the field mice and chipmunks that were plentiful around the bushes and along the creek, but as he grew larger and stronger, the larger animals became a part of his daily diet. And so first the small animals disappeared, then the larger ones as Henry’s appetite increased. The deer and crows still came through as Henry was now back looking for food in the creek.  

Now it was Henrys turn to be the victim. He had to be more careful, choosing when to venture out, checking for anyone who might attack, living on the ground was certainly more of a challenge, than soaring high in the sky. Learning when to play dead and never draw attention to his hiding place under the shed.

Each day Henry would try to use his damage wing, he could move it slightly and soon he could tuck it in next to his body where it did not drag the ground. At last he felt a little more normal. An owl came each night and perched on a limb just over the roof of the shed. Hoot, hoot, and hoot went the owl all night long keeping Henry from getting any sleep. In the morning the crows would taunt him, knowing that he was helpless to chase them off. Soon he could hop up to the top of the back of a swing that over looked the creek where he could look for fish and salamanders.

Each morning around seven Bill would take Rusty, a long hair Yorkie, for a walk in the backyard, and each time Rusty would try to check out the opening behind the shed. Henry would move to a dark corner and watch Rusty sniff around the opening. Bill kept a tight grip on the leash and would not let him get under the shed. One morning Bill and Rusty were a little late, and Henry was perched on the back of the swing watching the creek. Rusty took off in a fast run for the swing, jerking the leash out of Bill’s hand. Henry heard him coming and hopped down, then took off across the creek on the tree that used to hold his nest. Once on the other side, he stopped to see if Rusty would followed him across the log.

Rusty stopped at the log and barked until Bill reached him and quieted him down. Each morning after that it became a game to see if Rusty could catch Henry before he got across the creek. After several weeks of this, Bill started just letting Rusty go to chase the hawk. As last Rusty got a little too close and Henry instantly tried to fly. Leaving the back of the swing he flounder in the air for a moment then managed to glide down to the water.

Henry practiced hopping up and flapping his wings, getting a little stronger each day and gliding further each attempt. Soon he was able to gain enough height to glide the entire width of the yard and made a landing on a low nearby limb. Feeling proud he remained there the rest of the day. That night the owl did not bother him, and the crows stayed clear the next morning. When Rusty came looking for him, he would swoop down and try to touch the top of his head. Bill got a little nervous and started holding him back.

Soon Henry was back in the sky, soaring high with the other hawks. He even found a new tree and a place to sleep. Checking on Rusty each morning.

The Trout Pond is now on

By: Hubert C. Crowell
Jim makes a find in a pond that tears a small Kentucky coal mining town apart. Ron, a stranger in town carrying a secret of the largest crime of the century becomes snared in the Union wars of the 1950’s.