Feeding the Birds

Photo by: SunnyS

Keifer stuffed his pipe slowly, eyes scanning the terrain. The environment of Corregidor IV used to be hostile to Earth life, but that had changed and green things slowly took over the desert. Nearby, a hard thrumming sounded and hummingbirds flew into view. He watched them dance and whirl around the trumpet-vine flowers, feeding happily. He’d planted the flowers specifically for them in the gardens around his prefab home. He smiled as he watched them.

Kiefer loved feeding his birds.

In the distance, he spotted a marmot rooting in the dirt. He picked up the AKU-88 Sniper rifle sitting on the table beside him. He pressed a complex series of controls. Only three hundred people out of humanity’s trillions knew how to operate the complex weapon. He aimed, marked his target on the targeting computer, and fired. The marmot weighed 3lbs at most. If a .50 caliber round struck it squarely the tiny animal would disintegrate. Keifer merely winged it and blew a leg off. The creature keened in pain as blood gushed into the dirt. It didn’t suffer for long.

One of the babies found it in minutes. A Harpy Eagle, one of the many creatures Kiefer sowed into the environment, found the marmot and quickly put it out of it’s misery. When the baby Harpy, one of the largest Earth eagles, grew to full size, its wings would spread over six feet across. He smiled.

Kiefer loved feeding his birds.

This was easily the best job he’d ever taken, he mused as he poured another shot of whiskey. He and one thousand others were contracted to grow their own gardens to develop an Earth-like environment on Corregidor. The once-desert in his patch of land now boasted 100 hectares of green, growing things and all the animals that completed the circle of terrestrial life. He was no geneticist, but the software loaded onto his computers made that issue moot. He could change the genetic structure of any animal to live on the planet more easily than he could pay his taxes.

Sometimes he made wild experiments with the genetics. Some were more successful than others. One project in particular struggled because the animal had been changed significantly. Kiefer still tried to work out how to feed it. He put his feet up on the green patio furniture and checked his watch. It was about time to continue the experiment.

He sent one last email in a string of emails. Normally, he’d edit the headers – invisible code in an email that most people never see. He could edit them so no one could trace the source. It was standard operational security. This time he didn’t do that. It was the last breadcrumb.

Twenty minutes later a shuttle streaked across the sky and landed next to his house.

Right on time.

Bennet, one of his old teammates from The Teams, stepped out carrying a heavy assault rifle. He carefully kept it leveled at Kiefer. Bennet stopped a safe twenty feet away. His scarred mouth grinned. “You got sloppy, Kiefer.”

“Really? How?”

“No operational security. You led me right to you.”

Keifer deadpanned, “Woopsie.”

Bennet looked around carefully. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Gardening. Growing plants and animals.”

“Gardening?” guffawed Bennet. “You used to be one of the best SpecOps operators ever. A legend! Now you’re gardening?”

Keifer sighed. “Genetic design too. It’s pretty intense.”

Bennet snorted. “Well Lah-dee-dah! How’s that working for you?”

Kiefer smiled. “The work is ongoing.”

“Well let’s get down to business, shall we?” Bennet’s eyes went flat, dead. The eyes of a killer. “The Family does not appreciate you leaving their employment without asking first.”

The Family is a bunch of crooks.”

Bennet shrugged. “Whatever. It’s a paycheck. A fat one. And now I’m here to bring back your head.”

“You always loved the killing too much, Bennet.” Kiefer watched a shadow approaching on the ground, growing larger, faster.

Bennet finally noticed it and looked up. His chest took the brunt of a forty pound eagle hitting him at thirty miles per hour. The blow knocked the wind out of his chest. Claws, twice the size of a human hand squeezed into his ribs, crushing bone and collapsing the lungs. The genetically-modified eagle’s twenty-foot wingspan spread like an umbrella of death over the man. Bennet’s last words emerged as a wheeze. “Why?”

Kiefer shrugged. “I heard you were looking for me, and I needed something big to feed my new eagle.”

He smiled.

Kiefer loved feeding his birds.
________________________________
Author’s Notes:

The world’s largest living eagle is the Stellar Sea Eagle, with a wingspan of 7ft: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steller’s_sea_eagle

Written for the Mutant 750 writing challenge from the Grammar Ghoul Press. This week’s word prompt was “whirl.” The Hummingbird pic above was the media prompt. Look here to see what other folks wrote: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-51/

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About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
This entry was posted in Short Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Feeding the Birds

  1. List of X says:

    Lesson one: when hunting former SpecOps, shoot first and skip the small talk.
    Lesson two: if you do want small talk, bring plenty of back up.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. tskraghu says:

    Was it Clint Eastwood who said ‘Shoot first’?

    Usually I skip these fantastic ‘other worldly’ stories. I read this one and liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lyn says:

    Now that’s what I call a success in genetic modification πŸ™‚ i wonder if Kiefer will eventually be able to get them to hover like a hummingbird? That is some eagle! It’s a pity Haast’s eagle is extinct. Combining that one with a Stellar sea-eagle would make one formidable creature.
    Why do bad guys always gloat? You’d think they’d have learnt from their comrade’s past experience. Maybe it’s a case of all brawn and no brain. LOL Kiefer must be doing something right with his genetic experiments πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yeah, I would love to see a living Haast’s Eagle. I mean, from a safe location that is. Those birds preyed upon animals larger than humans! The eagle in this story is double the size of a Haast’s Eagle. Yikers!

      And yeah, bad guys usually do gloat. Perhaps it stems from a lack of humility, and maybe that comes from a lack of empathy. So maybe being a bad guy comes from a fundamental character flaw? I’m just throwing out ideas here.

      In any event, Kiefer is definitely doing something right. He’ll never need to worry much about intruders. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much, Lyn! πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. Lyn says:

    Dang! Now I can’t get that Mary Poppin’s tune “Feed the Birds” out of my head πŸ™„

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Joy Pixley says:

    I like how the repetition of the “like to feed the birds” line reminds me of legends or fairy tales, and how it builds up from small pretty birds to a huge deadly one. And as you can guess, I like it even better for being other worldly. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yeah, I like repetitions like that. It gives a story depth. When a theme runs through a story, I think it keeps the reader engaged. I’m glad you liked this. You can expect a lot of otherworldly stuff from me. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Michael says:

    Never mess with a guy who can create genetically enhanced super-eagles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      They really ought include that in “The Handbook for Bad Guys.” One time a bad guy tried to include include that in the manual. He held a gun on the chief editor while he explained his reasoning…at length. He was never seen again. πŸ™„

      Like

  7. Jen says:

    Your stories are always so imaginative. I love reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Suzanne says:

    I love feeding my birds too. A genetically modified eagle would make a nice addition, especially since it’s election season here in Canada… πŸ˜‰

    Another wild and creative story, sir. You never disappoint.

    Liked by 1 person

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