SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Thanks to Oren the Otter for help with this effort.
The marten climbed the tree and stalked along the branch that
passed near the tree's neighbor. Just above the branch was a
promising looking hole. John figured that either the hole was
a nest that offered something suitable for eating, or maybe
an abandoned nest which he could take over as his own nest.
Indeed, there was an inhabitant in the hole, one with
feathers and a very unpleasant attitude about his little visit.
"Get out! Get out of here!" squawked the creature.
Huh? Hmmmm...the post-transformation "dialect" of English. This was
something to think about. But irregardless, he was still hungry.
"You can speak? You were human?" John asked. "OK, OK. I was
just hunting. I'll leave you alone."
The bird landed on the end of his branch. It was a woodpecker.
"Just be on your way, then" the bird replied.
John began to turn around, then suddenly lunged into the
hole in the tree and came out in a flash with an egg in its
mouth, and in one motion jumped down to the ground and vanished
in the undergrowth. The bird's hysterical cries echoed in the
woods, but John ate his little meal anyway. The other egg had been
crushed by his paws in his haste to obtain the tidbit, but that
would just have to be chalked up as a loss.
John heard the tiny sound just in time to realize that something
did not mean him well. As a matter of fact, two somethings. A pair
of coyotes, to be specific. He sensibly took advantage of that
moment to flee at full speed, the coyotes in hot pursuit. The
predators would catch up to him quickly, unless he got into a tree.
The nearest one happened to be a dead tree, but it was going to have
to do as a haven.
Up John went and took refuge at the end of a branch. The coyotes
stationed themselves at the bottom of the tree. "He'll have to come
down sooner or later" one said. "One or the other of us will just wait
until he does."
"So you were human, before the Nacalites! Killing me would be
"Surviving is what is important to us, now. Thanks to the gasbags,
we are no longer human. You are no longer our species."
"And that was not how you felt before!" came a voice behind him.
John turned and looked behind him. The woodpecker was back, and her
mate was with her this time. They began pecking away at his branch.
"I left you alone. I only went after your eggs. They would
never be people, anyway...just birds!"
"They were our children! You killed them, and now it will be
"I never asked to be changed into an animal. That was the Nacalites
doing - and you're being as bad as them! Those eggs would have just
been birds, eggs I ate to survive. I was as human as you and now
you're trying to kill me!"
"Look, all right, so you loved them...my dog was hit by a car
when I was a kid. I remember how I felt, but that isn't worth a
death penalty! The eggs didn't suffer the way Chaser did...and
I only did it to eat."
"What if the Nacalites turned someone into a bug? They could,
you know! Can you be absolutely sure you haven't killed someone
yourselves, without even knowing it?"
"You knew what we were!" RATATATAATATATAT.
"OK, I'm sorry. But if you do this, you're no better than I was.
Maybe worse...you're just vigilantes...a lynch mob."
"I never even had a traffic ticket as a human...I worked in a
hospice, trying to help dying people. Now this is how you decide
I should die?"
"If you were such a humanitarian, how could you do what you
did to us? To our children?" RAT...RAT-TAT...TAT
"They were not really children. Please, think about your old
friends and family. What are they now? Are any of them carnivores
or predators? Don't you think that they do the same as me, sometimes?"
The pecking stopped, though the old dead branch continued to
creak and pop. "Those overgrown farts are the ones responsible
for this! I wish someone from the Q Continuum would turn them all
into turds because they exterminated us, or for using peroxide,
or some sin they never even thought of as wrong! I never hunted
anything as a human, now I'm dying for hunting as a marten!"
The branch broke and suddenly the woodpeckers were attacking the
coyotes even as he fell to the ground. "Run!" they screeched, and
he needed no further encouragement. He was off deeper into the woods,
and those birds had really given him a something to think about.
DRIZZLE DRAZZLE DRUZZLE DROME
TIME FOR THIS ONE TO COME HOME