Joseph Lennox stood on the steps of his front porch and stared at the majestic falcon that was flying wildly across the twilight sky. There was an orange hue about the clouds and it turned them a purple grey color that looked rather picturesque. Over these strange formations the silhouette of the bird passed over again and again. He brought himself to a seated position and pondered it a moment, and it flew as if it had no plan, and no purpose. In fact he thought that maybe it was lost, and unaware of what to do next. The frantic patterns it moved in up and down, then diagonally returning to the center and passing through and just against that strange and beautiful purple sky. Then it stopped flapping its wings as it swept up on last time and halted in mid-air as if frozen before plummeting to the earth. There was a tuft of dust that came up about it when it hit just feet away from Josephs position in the dirt and gravel of his driveway. As if not believing the sight he pondered it a moment, dumbfounded that this thing had once been tearing up that twilight sky and was now still and lifeless upon the earth.
When he came to his senses Joseph Lennox moved from his spot on his steps and at a steady but frenzied pace he approached the broken bird. Once it was at the tips of his boots he leaned down and lifted it up to discover that its chest still rose and fell, rose and fell. He dropped it in a moment of shock and it fell with a lesser thumb against the gravel. He swore he heard a bone snap but he reached down and scooped it up again. Now the worry entered his mind that after its tremendous fall he had now killed it by dropping it but a couple feet to the earth. Its wing hung off to its side, suspended in the air as if the limb of a dead body, and it wobbled back and forth as Joseph rushed it inside of his small house.
There were no other people inside just the empty air of nothing and the sound of his leather boots stomping against the wooden floor boards. He threw his arm to wipe a collection of dishes from his counter top. The metal ones clanked and panged against the floor while a few ceramic plates and bowls shattered, but he cared not for these materials. With his mind on the dying animal we stepped over the broken pieces without a second thought and proceeded down hallway and into his study. There were several bottles of various liquids upon his counter bookshelves but fewer books. There were some army manuals, survival guides that he had held onto during his war days but nothing that concerned him now. He took a glass that sat next to one of these bottles and he poured himself some scotch. He perspired slightly from his movements from the frantic rabble that was in his mind. With one throw back he swallowed down the liquor and stepped out of his study to enter into his wash room.
On the top of the sink were small pill bottles of various medical remedies but he did not reach for these his hand found a roll of medical tape and he quickly turned about and headed back to the wounded bird. For a moment he watched it to see if its chest still rose and fell and while it indeed was he could tell it was much longer between each breath. His hands moved quickly and he adjusted the broken wing so that it was lined up properly as much as he deemed he could and he wrapped up the feathered thing with the medical tape, securing it in place. After he was done with that he moved the falcon’s head gently with his hand, and it looked pathetic and sickly. Its eyes staring off into an unknown place.
Joseph couldn’t help himself, and a tear slowly escaped the corner of his eye. Even though there was no one else there to see him he quickly wiped it away as if he were afraid God would have seen the fragile state of his heart. The orange twilight shone through the window just barely, as night began to show its full head, and the light in the room darkened. There was a small metal lantern with chipped red paint within arm’s reach and he acquired it quickly. After striking a match and its small yellow flame burned for a moment and began to eat at its stick he brought it to the wick of the lantern and lit the thing. With a swipe of his hand the match was extinguished and the light of the lantern lit up the area around the birds face.
He watched as its black little eye moved about in fear, as it was immobile – possibly paralyzed. The falcon watched Joseph and possibly felt his hands upon its chest as the man tried to bring it back to life. And Joseph saw that look of fear as a stranger; maybe a predator turned it every which way. He thought about how afraid it must have been being stuck in that position. Itself a predator of the skies but now a wounded useless piece of meat that would be picked off by wandering coyotes.
It was hard for Joseph not to contemplate the other animal he had rescued after it had been mauled by a raccoon in the night. The rabbit had been a dark grey color its ears tall and rigid. The look in its eyes was not unlike the falcons, a look of defeat in preparation for dissection. Joseph had come outside due to its violent scream, a high pitched squeal that had roused him from a dead sleep. And when he came upon that dark grey body barely visible against the moons light he quickly gathered it up knowing that its attacker was watching nearby for the disturbance of the man to leave. That dark grey colored rabbit had been heavier than the falcon and had been far more injured than the bird, and since he had managed to save it he assumed he would have no trouble with the bird. But perhaps the two species genetic make-up was too different, but he didn’t care. His task was simple.
It took several days but every new morning Joseph discovered the falcon in a better state than the last. Even when it could fully stand upon its talons, and could not fly away it did not fear the man. True in its first moments of recovery it was afraid and tried to strike at Joseph with its beak, but soon came to realize that it was alive now because of this creature and if it had wanted to feast on its feathered flesh it would have already. As the falcon healed it became gentler screeching a welcoming greeting as Joseph entered the house and as he exited.
The man had brought it pieces of fish or a dead rodent he had found in his yard. The falcon being the predator that it was welcomed this feasting time and choked the different meats down, and then Joseph having fed the bird its fill would retire to his study and another glass of scotch. He would stare down the bottom of the glass as it sat against his nose and he’d ponder what to do next. When he was satisfied with his next thought he’d set the bottle and the glass down on his bookshelf and return to his next course of action.
Then it came to the day when the falcon fluttered about in the air a moment above the counter and he knew it was set to return to its hunt. That the beautiful majestic falcon could soar over another twilight sky and snatch up unsuspecting victims in its talons. When it would tear away the flesh and innards of some field mouse and satisfy its ravenous appetite. Returning itself to its hunter instincts given to it by the Lord God. He could not have expected such a bird to remain inside of his home so he carried it – as it had come to let him do – to the porch and he set it loose into the air.
It fluttered about in front of him at eye level a moment and swooped back and forth as if saying its fair well. Joseph waved it on to the higher sky, smiling at his success at bringing the thing back into its element. The falcon screeched a farewell and climbed into the spaces in front of him. That was when Joseph removed his sidearm and took one shot at the thing that sent it plummeting back to the gravel in a cloud of dust. He took a step forward, and holstered the handgun and the chain attached to it bounced a dark grey rabbit foot against his thigh.