“I noted that Richard describes what he sees,” Ellen said. “Would you like me to do the same?”
Ellen felt Müther stiffen. “You should not tire yourself,” she said.
They progressed in silence. Ellen leaned back into her brace and tried to shut out Müther’s resentment.
Almost as if to give her a focus for more pleasant thoughts, a snow falcon appeared above them.
The bird’s black-tipped, long and narrow wings jutted out stiffly from her heavy body as she rode a thermal higher and higher until she was almost out of sight. Ellen was about to look away when she noted the wings suddenly work in a series of quick, shallow thrusts, increasing the raptor’s speed as she completed a circle overhead before settling into a long, fast, shallow glide, stiffened wings slightly raked. Suddenly, the falcon plunged, plummeted a hundred metres to the ground, disappeared behind a pile of boulders and appeared again seconds later with a mouse hanging limply from her talons.
It was not the first time Ellen had seen snow falcons hunt.
Black tips that trace the speed
Bringing doom with each repeat
White gracing lines in the air…
The lines played into her mind. She toyed with them, juggling them for the best cadence. Perhaps it depended on what the fourth line was: dare, care, fare, spare, lair, pair – which word for the fourth line, she mused.
“Kek, kek, kek, kek, wheeeeee.” The falcon’s call was distant but distinct. Müther sat up straighter, turning her face in the direction of the sound. Rosa, too, turned to look at the disappearing falcon, though Ellen did not doubt that Rosa had been watching the falcon’s every move.
“Is it coming nearer?”
“No. It just killed a mouse and is probably taking it back to its young.”
“Did you see him make the kill?”
It was a ‘her’, thought Ellen, but she replied: “Yes”.
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