FIERY FALCONS OF FUJAIRAH A short story by Nancy Paton
Here is the first one thousand words from a short story that is four thousand word and was inspired by Laline Paull book Bees. I wrote this for World Wildlife Day, and will share the rest with you when I publish my book of short stories very soon.
From a traditional Arabian campsite, the smell of Arabic coffee, wrapped in an elegant apple-flavored Shisha bow, flows through the air, seconds before the spring sun crests the tawny dunes.
After week-long episodes of hefty rain showers, orderly and dedicated Fatimah awakens. After forty days of being glued to her nest, which she hijacked from a raven—Fatimah’s soul is illuminated.
In this tranquil valley, at the foot of the majestic mountain that has been her permanent home since birth, the never-seen-before lush wild greenery takes her breath away. Fatimah reflects, Everything is as nature intended. It’s a perfect day for my little ones to step foot on this earth.
Miraculously, this time everything had gone to plan. Well, maybe not everything. Her partner did leave her a few days after she had announced her pregnancy to their family and friends.
But Fatimah was used to partners abandoning her. She was not fazed by being a single mother and doing it on her own. She had watched her mother and aunties do it with ease and poise years before he had come into her life—so many single mothers. So many strong females in her life paved the way and prepared her for the task at hand.
She admits she thought he was different. To her, they appeared to have had an electric bond. It felt as if she had known him her entire life. They wanted the same things. They talked of growing old together, of having a big family.
Even though her clock was about to stop ticking, they had high hopes to fit as many chicks in as they could before it stopped. She raved on about him with praise and adoration to her sister Faaiza.
But as always, Faaiza was right. And like many before him, one day, when out hunting, he never returned. He disappeared into the sharp, swallowing air without a trace.
For a while, Fatimah told herself he was caught up on business. He would send word and return to them as soon as he could. Then she convinced herself he must have been killed in some horrific accident, a natural disaster.
But no accident had been registered. His family and friends were alarmed by his disappearance but later declared, “these absurd times change even the best of our kind.”
She could not stand the theory her sister asserted, “he left you for another bird.” He was nothing like the companions she had before him. Not to ponder too long on her previous unfaithful partners, she persuades herself that their souls had connected.
Fatimah was brainwashed from birth to believe that since the beginning of time, once her kind found their soul mate, they flew as one for life. He was her soul mate; she was sure of it. He would never have left her this way; It was definitely a horrific accident.
It would have been nice to have found eternal love, but in these rough, tumultuous times, that was an impossible dream to realize. Since earth commenced its corrosive decline, this was not a woman’s destiny.
She reminds herself, This was never about the happily ever after, till death do us part. This was always bigger than all of that. After many failed relationships, her true purpose was illustrated to her.
She was to nurture her children to safety. Her species survival depended on it. From that realization, she had only one intention in all her escapades: to be a mother. The clock was ticking, and this was her last chance.
She was going to do everything in her power to get pregnant, even if it meant being alone. She was not going to feel guilty for being a single mother, and that is when he came along.
For a split second, she thought there might be more. Gently feeling her little ones, she assures herself one last time. This time it is different. I might be alone, but I have been blessed.
I am having triplets. No complication. No miscarriages. All three are thriving and on time. All things considered, this is a perfect day.
She will not dwell in the sadness of past horrors. She will stay confident for her three little chicks, who were only a few seconds away from being by her side.
Upon this high rock outcrop, with her unique vision, Fatimah views out for miles. Bobbing her head, back and forward. Rocking her head, forward and back. Swaying and swinging, rotating it two hundred degrees to the left. With a precise slow movement, she investigates the unexpected camp before her.
Usually, she enjoyed watching new prey, even though she acknowledged there was no hope for them in this harsh, ungrateful, destructive world. But this day was no ordinary day for her. She had been waiting for this day since maturing into a woman.
The yearning for being a mom became an overwhelming obsession, an uncontrollable desire. But many treacherous years went by without any luck.
One horrific tragedy followed another more catastrophic disaster. With every grotesque discovery. A heartbreaking loss. So much pain. So many tears. So many precious souls never stepping foot on this earth.
And so, with her wide worrying eyes, she polices the wretched settlement before her. She senses a painful ending to this glorious day. She calls upon Faaiza, who isresting nearby, “Something isn’t right.”