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ON A WING AND A PRAYER


Now, as a cat, I have limited medical expertise. However, I do know that you should never add milk to your diet when you are lactose intolerant. Due to my bad decision making I had been up for most of the night with both stomach cramps and projectile vomiting.

One thing I had noticed however, during my nocturnal exploits is how annoying hedgehogs can be. Kevin had spent most of the night using his long nose to hunt for food morsels. Burrowing into the loose leaves that lay on the floor of the wooded area, where we had stopped to rest. This created a crunching noise that was worse than listening to him slurp at his bread and milk mix yesterday.

I hadn't seen Fiona since we arrived at our resting place. She told us that she was off to check on a friend that had broken her wing the day before. Now don't get me wrong, I never judge friendships that individuals strike up. Though a broken wing suggested to me that this friend was a bird and birds brought back somber memories of the seagulls that had chased me away from my loved ones.

The sun was beginning to rise and this brought with it some much appreciated warmth. I was pleased in a way that Kevin had eaten as my appetite was non-existent.

"Morning Mog. Feeling any better? That was rather a loud noise you were making last night. I've never heard someone be so vocal whilst vomiting. Kept me awake all night it did.

What a cheek, I thought. Me, noisy? Well I never. I chose not reply to that thoughtless comment, except to say that I was feeling a bit better. 

Just then Fiona appeared from beneath the undergrowth with her annoyingly happy attitude. "Morning all. How are we?" Both Kevin and I grunted "morning" and I proceeded to give myself a morning wash with my tongue. "Hey you two," squeaked Fiona. "You know that I've been visiting my friend who has injured herself?" Kevin and I looked at her with intrigue. "Well she is in a worse state than I originally thought. Her left wing has been damaged beyond repair and she will never be able to fly again. "That's very unfortunate," I replied. "Will you be leaving Kevin and I to look after her?"

With that a shadow appeared, blocking out the sun's rays. With the concealed daylight now creating a silhouette I could only make out the outline of a figure that resembled the hunchback of notre dame. This mass seemed to be dragging itself along. It was huge, much larger than me. I was both frightened and intrigued. The fact that neither Kevin or Fiona had run away gave me the confidence that this visitor did not pose a threat to any of us.

As my eyes adjusted to the change in light I realised that our visitor was the bird that fiona had told us about earlier. As she stood in front of me I looked up at her face. She was what humans call a Marsh Harrier Hawk. Females are larger than males and her broken wing was fully stretched and almost a metre in length. 

"Are you ok?" I asked, rather nervously. "You look like you're in a lot of pain." As I looked for a response I noticed that her beak was quivering and her eyes were watering. "That wall" she squawked, "that blasted wall." "What do you mean?", I asked. "The wall got in the way. It was painted the colour of the sky so I flew towards it. I didnt know it was a wall. What am I going to do now. I'm going to starve. It's all Fiona's fault." What do you mean?" Kevin enquired. Then Fiona took over the story and explained. " She had dived down from the blue sky and had picked me up with her enormous claws to take me home for her chicks to eat. On her return upwards, with me as her prey, she accidentally flew into a huge blue concrete wall, which formed the side of a building. As we both fell to the ground she let go of me and proceeded to put her wing out to cushion her fall." 

"And you became friends?" I chuckled. "She needed my help Mog. She's injured." "And you were her chick's breakfast, before the crash." I smirked.

"So what's your name, bird lady?" ask Kevin. "My name is Henrietta, though my husband calls me Hatty. You can call me Hatty if it's easier."

"Hang on a minute lady" I said. "What do you mean your husband? Where is your husband right now?" " He's hunting for food to feed our four chicks back at our nest. He's having to work twice as hard now that I'm out of action." "Ok, ok and when you say hunting you mean for mammals like myself Kevin and Fiona?" With this, Hatty tried to bend her wing back into shape. The pain must have been too much as she started to cry.

"Ok," i said, " we need to get this wing bent back so that Hatty can at least walk properly. Hatty, this is going to hurt, though if me and Kevin can somehow bend your wing back to its natural position then Fiona can use soft bush branches to tie your wing in place."

I grabbed a discarded water bottle from the ground. "Put this between your beak and push down on it as tight as you can. Kevin? You grab the end of Hatty's wing and I'll grab the centre. When I say go, push the wing towards Hatty's body. Fiona, you use the branches and tie up the wing as quickly as you can to secure it in place. Ready? GO ! "

It all happened very quickly. Within a split second Hatty's wing had been heaved back into place and tied securely. The speed of the whole exercise didn't give her any chance to encounter too much pain. She dropped the plastic bottle out of her mouth and gasped "thank you all so much. I can now stand up straight again."

I stood beside Hatty's long and impressive neck and looked up at her. "You need to rest now young lady. Are you hungry?" With that Hatty stared down at me and whispered "indeed I am and you look large enough to satisfy my hunger." 

This injured hawk that we had just operated on had shown her true colours. She hadn't been in pain, those tears weren't real. We were all seen as just a meal for her and her chicks. She had no plans to become our friend. 

"Kevin, Fiona, run. Run as fast as you can. Hatty is our enemy. She wants to eat me and probably you two as well, run." With that all three of us sprinted away from this preying beast. The problem was that we all ran in seperate directions. I hadn't ran this quickly since the seagulls chased me out of town. Again I didn't stop until I couldn't run any more. Eventually I had to stop as I was still weak from not eating or drinking that day. Thankfully I was alone. Wait, I was alone. I'd lost my friends. Where were they. Were their torn up corpse's working their way down Hatty's impressive neck?

Would I ever see them again?

 

 

 


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