TITLE: Child of Moon and Sea
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
He walked the beach of a windswept island, miles away from human habitation, the place where his regrets lived. One of the few places left in the world where nature was pure, unpolluted. Years since he’d visited, but the landscape was the same. Interior forests growing from fertile volcanic soil, cliffs reaching to the sky filled with bird nests, open horizon.
A sound caught his attention and he saw a baby bird on the ground, flapping his wings. Covered with a mixture of soft grey down and sleek feathers, the chick was ungainly as it grew, sharp beak making it identifiable as an albatross. The bird thrust its wobbly neck forward and back, its body shaking. It fell to the ground and tried to stand again, its taloned feet helplessly scratching at the sand. It rolled, making a piteous choking sound.
He rushed forward and cradled the baby bird in cupped hands, but the baby’s eyes closed, the vulnerable neck hanging. Gently he set the baby bird down on the beach, arranging its limbs. Nature took the weakest. No emotion moved him; instead, he understood this law of survival. The mother would lay more eggs and they would be stronger, better suited for this world.
The island curved ahead and he followed the contour. The smell of carrion reached him first. Then the sight of the beach covered by the bodies of dead and dying chicks, all like the one he’d just left. Young enough to still be covered by down.