Through the Eye of the Crokus
Copyright 2015 by Gordon Kuhn
When the earth was young and dark, for there was no light in the sky in those days, he sat upon the mountainside and watched with eyes half hooded as life stirred below him. Hunger was beyond him. Even if the desire to feed had brought him there, he was unable to do so. He had seen too much in his short life and had lost the appetite for small things scurrying in the dark.
His wings were folded tightly behind him. When open, they had a span tip to tip of over 12 feet and yet that was small for one of his clan. They would grow no more, he knew. But he needed no more growth. Too much width could be dangerous when flying sinks not known to him. A slight mistake could send a pilot in training, such as he, careening off cavern walls. He realized it was better to have less wingspan than to have too much.
A chill wind came from the valley below. It had swept up from deep within the earth and vented itself from out of the sink he had explored earlier. He flew with such grace. A ballet in the dark. A dance without music to accompany him. He simply rose and fell in the silence. His wings cut through the air bringing a spinning turbulence unexpected by the creatures who lived in the dark. They turned and rolled and looked this way and that as he passed over them. Unable to speak they simply made groaning noises at each pass. Incapable to see they were aware of his presence only by the brush of his fur coated wings and the change in air pressure as he passed close over them.
But then he sat, content with himself, with his freedom, and with half shuttered eyes he stared out into the dark. His stomach was empty and had been for days. But soon, he thought; he would lift from this place and pass by the growth of rock that one day would be called a moon to the planet he had chosen to rest upon.
But for the time he just sat and waited in the dark until he heard the sound of braking wings close by over his head. He looked toward the sound, the pace of his heart taking a leap.
He had been found!
A cold shift took place among the scales that covered his body like armor. He blinked and stared at the place where he knew another of his clan had landed feeling for them with his radar like senses. Trying to touch them, to get an idea of their size and shape. In that way, he would know them and would be ready himself to fight or openly welcome the newcomer.
“Li Sun,” a voice, deep and elegant, spoke his name from the proximity of where he knew the other flyer had landed. His heart stopped mid-beat and held as if frozen. “Li Sun. I know you are there, I can smell you.”
“We can smell you.” The voice of a large male shattered the silence on Li Sun’s right.”Did you really think that you could so easily slip away and, taking wing, come to this pile of rock without notice”
“I—,” Li Sun started to speak when a third voice growled. “I suggest we eat him.” The owner landed in front of Li Sun (pronounced Lee Soon). “What say you, Park Nor?”
The first of the three cleared his throat and replied, “I have thought on that, However, his father sent us to locate him, his father is of the royal blood, he would resent us eating his son unless he was present for the feast.”
“And then,” a fourth voice, softer than the others, female, came from behind Li Sun as a tiny landslide of pebbles and small stones slipped out from under her as she landed with her great wings back beating to slow her descent, “there is the matter of his right to slit the young one’s throat.”