Bearclaw Valley the gold-bug
All Welcome  June 29, 2020, 08:14 PM
set outside Astara's whelping den


she kicks a pebble, watching it skitter across the ground before coming to rest, again motionless. a dead leaf is next upon her path, and Avicus stares at it. it does not move. dead, she decides, and moves on.

a bone, left over from one of the kills brought to the den. she takes it in her mouth and feels nothing within it, not a stirring to be found. dead, she mumbles, dropping the bone with a muted clatter upon the earth. her eyes light upon another stone, and she is padding toward it when movement distracts her:

a fledgling chickadee, alive and well. but one of its wings is bent at an awkward angle, and so it flaps upon the ground, half-hidden in brush. only the yellow of its feathers gives it away. it is orphaned (or so it appears) and utterly helpless without the aid of flight.

not dead, she thinks, and with her heart hammering excitedly in her chest, she presses herself against the ground, hoping to creep closer. hoping to snare it.

how thin is the line between dead and not dead?

but see, amid the mimic rout,
a crawling shape intrude —
a blood-red thing that writhes from out
the scenic solitude