A fun scene from my upcoming novel, King Solomon’s Wives, written entirely from a bird’s POV 🙂
From a hundred feet in the air, the stone watchtower looked like a thick, stubby tree without branches. Through the mental link, Tariq felt excitement from Skye and an image of him landing on top. Still miles away, he drifted lower then spiraled downward, flapping his wings to slow his descent only when he drew close.
Still clutching the bronze box, he dropped it gently on the roof, then landed beside it. In front of him stood a giant pile of dead trees, like an enormous nest except the branches leaned against each other, pointing at the sky instead of splayed out.
Approval? He queried Skye, still uncertain about this strange hollow tree made of rocks. Normally, these types of structures contained angry humans that tried to harm him if he flew too close, shooting long pointed sticks tipped with metal that flew at him almost faster than he could react. And yet this place appeared to be empty, with no sign of humans from the moment he’d spotted it nearly three miles out.
Approval and gratitude, came the excited response from Skye. Tariq screeched in triumph and flapped his wings, basking in the happiness emanating through the link.
The next set of instructions were complicated and confusing to the eagle. Skye showed the metal box split in two to reveal something inside. The concept of a box was not new to Tariq. Skye used numerous pouches and containers, most notably those that contained dried meat and other treats she gave to him when pleased, but he had never had to open one before.
Hopping over to the box, Tariq pecked at it with his long, hooked beak but it refused to split in two like the image in his mind. He knocked it about a few times, scratching at it with his talons then pecked it again, but still it did not open.
Then Skye showed him an image of a seam on the box. With his keen eyesight, it took only a moment to locate the line on the real box. Next, Skye showed the box aligned so that the seam ran sideways. Tariq picked up the box in his beak, rotated it with the talons of his left foot until the line ran widthwise, set it back down, and screeched again in triumph.
The next images from Skye proved easy to understand but hard to execute. Tariq tried prying the top with his beak, but the bottom always followed, causing the box to tumble over and lose alignment. This resulted in him needing to reposition it and try again. Shaking his feathers in frustration, he set his talons against the base while pulling the top back with his beak.
The box split open and he puffed his chest, preparing to screech. Instead, he leaped back as fire sprang to life in the tiny hollow inside the box.
Skye’s response came back a moment later. Calm. Approval. In his mind, she showed the box being pushed close to the stack of dead trees.
Fear! Danger! Repeated Tariq as the fire in his vision spread from the box to the trees.
Calm. Approval, came the response once again. Skye showed an image of him using his talons to knock the box away from the bonfire, then closing the box.
Trust, thought Skye.
Tariq had no desire to do this, to be anywhere near fire, but he was brave and his love for Skye was strong. Tariq screeched then responded in kind. Trust.
In moments, the crowned eagle had done as Skye requested, pushing the bronze box towards the pyre until the flames caught, then pulling it back and closing the lid. Setting one claw atop the box, Tariq clutched it tight and leaped into the sky once again.
Behind him, the signal fire grew and spread until it engulfed the entire roof, blazing with intense light that could be seen for miles.
Gratitude, cooed Skye, as Tariq pumped his powerful wings to gain altitude, and headed for the next tower.
RScottBoyer.com to find out more