Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lunchtime

It was a productive morning.  I was almost finished with a child's quilt  


and was starting to think about lunch when I heard a loud noise.  It sounded like something slamming into the front door or the living room window.  I was home alone, and I froze.

What if that was someone trying to break into the house? Our neighborhood is pretty safe, but you can never be too sure.  I debated investigating.  Nervous Me wanted to stay upstairs and wait.  Worried Me didn't hear any more noise and thought it might be safe to go downstairs and check.  Worried me won.

I grabbed the phone so I could call 911 if necessary and glanced around for something that could be used as a weapon.  My choices: a pile of fabric, a plastic trash can, and a pool noodle. I was going to have to go downstairs unarmed.  Maybe I could throw the phone.

I took off my shoes, walked softly to the stairs, and placed my foot on the first step.  Creeeeeak!  There went my element of surprise.  The house is 80 years old; the stairs are noisy.  If there was anyone in the house or trying to get in, they would know that someone was home and, if I was lucky, leave.

From halfway down it was clear that the front door was still closed and the living room window looked uncompromised.  I relaxed a bit and continued down, now more curious than worried.  After testing the front door (securely locked), I went to the window to see if there was any evidence of what caused that bang.

The answer was sitting on the porch railing, settling its ruffled feathers.  A beautiful hawk turned and looked at me, its expression clearly saying, "There's nothing to see here, silly flightless creature."  Then it turned its back and launched itself off the railing, quickly rising into the afternoon sky.

Surprised and a little awestruck, I wanted to go out on the porch to try to catch another glimpse of the hawk.  I opened the door and looked down just before my foot landed on the source of the hawk's collision.  A small bird lay on the doorstep, fatally wounded.  The hawk had lost its lunch, and I suddenly didn't feel quite so hungry myself.



Hanging out with the awesome bloggers at yeahwrite.me again this week! 

31 comments:

  1. Yikes!! And bare foot no less. I loved this - starts off scary, calms down for a thing of beauty and then ends on a grim note. Three well conveyed emotions in a short piece!!

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  2. I love watching the big birds (hawks, owls, eagles, etc.) -- so graceful and powerful! And also deadly, which is why our chicken run has a net over the top, so that the big birds can't poach my chickens.

    I so get that feeling of alone in the house and what the heck was that noise? I always assume it is zombies, though.

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    1. They are beautiful and my kids got a lesson in predation that afternoon when they got home. I wish I had thought of zombies, though.

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  3. i'm amused you were going to attack an assailant with your shoe? i want to see those babies. and where do you live that hawks perch on your porch. nice. :)

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    1. I live in Washington, DC, just a couple of blocks from Rock Creek Park. I've seen egrets in there, and owls. A friend saw a flock of wild turkeys last year. It's neat living in a city but never knowing what cool thing you'll see. They say there are a few wolves...

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    2. No, not wolves. Coyotes. Pretty sure it's coyotes.

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  4. This makes me so sad! It used to happen ALL the time in my old house, before I moved. We'd actually get pigeon impressions on our windows!

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    1. Pigeon impressions. That would make an interesting factoid for prospective buyers!

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  5. We, too, live in an area surrounded by nature and all her wonders -- and horrors. I once saw two coyotes take down a deer in our backyard. Scary stuff. But also awe-inspiring, as you said.

    I really enjoyed your story, the build-up and the surprise turn at the end. Poor little bird!

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    1. I don't know if I would see my backyard the same way if I had seen the take-down, which I probably would have watched in horrified fascination before deciding that it was time to move.

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  6. Eeek. I get myself freaked out too. But awww poor birdie.

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    1. It's so easy to imagine things (though not zombies) that I prefer to check.

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  7. I wish I had that encounter on video.

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    1. It probably would have been funny, in a blooper-reel way. I've seen hawks snatch birds out of the air, and they are moving so fast that that collision must have concussed that hawk.

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  8. I love how you have captured the entire story in such a brief span. And I love how the hawk's majesty is somehow tarnished by its having failed, or perhaps even because it tried to catch lunch.

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    1. Thank you! It sure felt like an eternity, though.

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  9. I hear noises all. the. time. And one of these days I'm going to be in trouble because I almost never check.

    I think you should have gone with the pool noodle. Those things are deadly if used properly.

    Please add name/url to your comment options. I don't use my LJ anymore but don't have the others. You can find me here: http://truthfully.ca

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    1. My husband doesn't check either, unless I make him. I heard footsteps on our roof one night and he grunted and tried to go back to sleep! It was raccoons, BTW.

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  10. Aww poor little birdie! The victim, not the hawk. haha

    I really enjoyed the suspense in this story. It had all the appeal of a horror read, then became silly and relatable, then went back to being surprising. A great story arc. Good job!

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    1. Thank you! If you had seen that poor bird on my doorstep, it would have gone back to being a horror story.

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  11. So I had one of those Wrong reactions. Y'know, out of shock, when you do the opposite of what you think you should be doing. Like, I shouldn't be laughing - funny isn't exactly what dead bird carcass is - but I *am* laughing, 'cause man did I not see that coming. Well, well, well played.

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    1. Why, thank you! That wasn't a wrong reaction at all. If it hadn't been my foot that almost stepped on it, I probably would have laughed, too.

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  12. I live alone, and am rarely scared, but every once in a while, there will be a noise and it freaks me out. This described that experience perfectly!

    Really great!

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    1. Thank you! We all know the sounds our houses make, so when it's something different -- zombies?

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  13. I am so relieved that it was a hawk. And that it looked at you and you looked it at, probably also relieved that it was. Just. That. :-)

    I liked your step-by-step description and felt like I was there! (But not in a creepy way!)
    Pippi

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  14. You flightless creature he says staring at you! Perfect. I saw a bald eagle scoop up a fish this summer on a lake. It was awesome but to see something so huge on my porch would have been cool but just a little bit freaky Friday! Glad, obviously that it wasn't an intruder. Poor lunchtime bird:-(

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    1. I felt bad for the bird, too, up until I realized someone was going to have to clean it up and my husband decided that eviscerated bird disposal was beyond him.

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