Poe is a blind common raven who lives at a bird rescue center. He has a secret life as a writer.
They can take my eyesight but not my memories and not my stories
As soon as he was sure all the handlers had left for the day, Poe got busy. He mentally thanked whoever designed the mews with gravel floors 4 feet deep. He unearthed his typewriter and dug a little deeper for the stub of his cigar. He’d have to ask the free birds who brought him scraps of paper and smuggled out his manuscripts to bring him another stogie soon.
Jazz and Vihar were arguing, as usual. The great horned owls were sisters, but they couldn’t agree on anything. “I was out of the nest first,” Jazz claimed. “That’s because you fell,” Vihar countered. The same argument, every night. Hoot, hoot, hoot, was all he heard as they bickered back and forth. But, they were paying him in mice to write their story, so he would put up with them.
Jumping up on his typewriter, his stogie in his beak, he swiped the cigar back and forth against the side of his mews until it lit. He took a deep breath and got ready to type
“Stop arguing, you two,” Poe croaked around the cigar in his beak. “Jazz tell me how you came here to the rescue center. Vihar, you can add your details after Jazz is finished. I can’t understand you when you both hoot at once.”
Vihar clicked her beak. She was annoyed, but she let Jazz speak first.
“We were living in a nest in a tall tree. Our parents were away a lot, hunting. Vihar and I were trying out our wings, seeing if we could fly. I jumped up and flapped my wings, then a gust of wind caught me, and I couldn’t get back to the nest. I kept flapping my wings, but I ended up on the ground. Some humans saw me and bought me food. I decided I had a good thing going,” Jazz went on. “Humans brought me food. Why should I learn to hunt when I had a ready supply of food delivered at my feet? But after a few days another human came and put me in a box and brought me here.”
Vihar hooted, “I landed on the ground a couple of days after Jazz did. “But I knew what I was doing!” It’s not my fault the wind gusted again.”
“I sat at the base of the tree waiting for our parents. Then some humans walked by and saw me. They brought me food, too. It was much easier to eat the food they brought than to try to fly back up to the nest,” Vihar explained.
“Our parents flew back and saw me sitting on the ground. They waited for a few days for me to fly back up to the next, but those other humans came and took me away in a box, too.” Vihar added.
“Now we live at the bird rescue center. We lived together in the same mews for a long time,” said Jazz. “Then, we started arguing and the humans separated us. Now, Vihar lives next door. That’s fine with me,” she said, clicking her beak.
“If I were living in the wild, I’d stay up in my favorite tree all day. I’d hunt at dawn and dusk. When I got hungry, I’d use my big asymmetrical ears to hear a squirrel skittering through the leaves on its way to its nest. I can see really well, too, so I’d know exactly where to swoop down to catch that squirrel for dinner, grasping it and killing it with my strong talons. They’re much stronger than any human’s. I eat just about anything I can catch.” Vihar added. “So does Jazz. She caught and ate a skunk once.”
“Hey, look what I can do,” Jazz piped in. She turned her head three quarters of the way around her body. “I bet you can’t do that,” she told Poe.
“I can’t see what you just did,” said Poe. “I’m blind, remember?”
“Oh, sorry,” Jazz said. “I just turned my head 270 degrees. I can’t move my eyes, so I move my head instead when I want to see to the side or behind me.”
“Cool,” Poe answered, dancing on his typewriter keys. “I think I’ve got this. I’ll finish typing it and push it through the slit in my wall to my friends on the outside. They’ll take it to my publisher.”
“Pipe down!” Star, a red-tailed hawk, called. “Some of us sleep at night.”
“We’re done for the night,” Poe replied. “You’ll get your turn to tell your story.”