The Canada Geese have been busy forming flocks over the past month, practicing for their long and treacherous migration south.
I often hear their raucous squawking as they fly overhead and wonder if they are yelling commands or just arguing about who will take the lead. Somehow, a leader always emerges and the group instinctively pulls in behind their commander in a tight V formation. The cackling, however, continues unabated.
When Charli Mills’ September 16, 2015 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction challenge came along, asking us to write a love story in 99 words (no more, no less) – I thought about the these majestic, messy, ornery birds who mate for life. That’s about 20 geese years of monogamous marriage. Surely there was a love story to be found in one of those meadows, marshes and golf courses that they inhabit!
Honk’tar flails his massive wings and thrusts himself toward the dog, hissing at it with his powerful beak wide open. The dog lunges forward and they struggle and thrash until Honk’tar hears a whimper. He’s drawn blood. The fight is over.
He waits for the dog to scamper away and then swims toward his injured mate, extending his long neck, waving it gently back and forth. She gracefully extends hers in welcome and their necks intertwine.
A gunshot ricochets among the reeds.
Honk’tar immediately begins to push his mate, urgently steering her toward the dense thickets of the marsh.