If Tally hadn’t been so frightened, she would’ve screamed. Without a coherent thought, she backed up, on tiptoes. One step. Two steps.
The huge, bright-colored snake lifted its head, its beady eyes staring right at her. Its wiggly tongue flickered out and in.
A quick glance, right and left, told Tally that no one could rescue her. Slowly, she took another step backward.
A faint peep behind her set her heart racing. Turning her head, she glanced from a baby bird and its broken nest back to the snake. Her stomach churned.
The snack sashayed to the left, arching its body; its beady eyes fixed on the baby bird.
A choking sob clutched Tally’s throat, tears started in her eyes. No.
The little bird hopped forward, unaware, cheeping innocently. Two grown birds fluttered to a nearby branch, squawking uproariously.
With a flash of red, the snake darted forward.
The parent birds screeched. The baby bird hopped madly.
“No!” Tally grabbed a rock, flung it at the snake’s head, turned and scooped the bird into her arms. She pelted away, the little bird fluttering in her fingers, her heart thudding against her chest. Scrambling up a tree, she nestled the baby bird in a wide crook and scampered down again. The parent birds flew near and scolded her.
Pounding steps turned her attention. Liam, her older brother, jogged toward her. “You hurt?”
Tally swallowed and gulped down heaving sobs. She pointed to the snake. “It wanted to kill the bird—but I saved it.”
Liam frowned at the sight of a red tail slithering under a bush by the creek. Liam’s frown darkened. “We can’t have him roaming around.” He glanced back to the house. “You go inside. I’ll take care of him.”
Tally glanced up. The parent birds were on the branch right above the baby bird.
Her brother’s gaze followed hers. “They’ll be all right. Birds know what to do.”
Tally turned to her brother. “Do they?” A sinking feeling etched a hole in her stomach. “I saved it today—but what about tomorrow?” She glanced at the woods and all the fluttering wings among the branches. “How about when I’m not here?”
Her brother’s gaze softened. He put his arm around his little sister’s shoulder. “You can’t save everyone.” He shrugged. “Even snakes gotta eat.”
“To keep the natural balance. It’s how the world works.”
Tally shrugged off her brother’s arm and faced the house.
Liam frowned at her. “You okay? It didn’t bite you?”
Tally shuffled toward her home. “It didn’t bite, but it’s like I got poisoned anyway.” She glanced at three huddled birds. “At least that one will see another day.” She met her brother’s somber gaze. “I’ll have to live with that.”
Bhuaci village on the planet Helm
Dressed in a long, yellow nightdress, Yana tucked her pixie-looking little girl into a swaying hammock hanging from stout beams crisscrossing the ceiling. “You have a good time today? The Kazan zoo is world renowned.”
The child nodded and clutched a pink blanket close to her chest. “But the guide said that some animals have gone extinct. We’ll never see them again.”
Yana gazed into her child’s luminous blue eyes. “It’s true, I’m afraid. There’s a season for everything.”
“Will we go extinct?”
Yana’s eyes filled with tears. “There are not many of us left.” She shook her head. “We fall victim to trials and treachery from within…and without.”
“But couldn’t we just leave—go somewhere else where no one will bother us?”
Yana smoothed her daughter’s furrowed brow. “Survival is more than keeping the body alive—it means keeping the spirit alive as well. That is our greatest danger. We succumb to despair.”
“Then we must hope to live.”
Tears filled Yana’s eyes. “We have seen too much. Suffered too deeply”
“But I haven’t. I believe…we’ll live forever.”
Yana paused, her hand hovering over her daughter’s clenched fist. She brushed away a tear. “Perhaps you have the antidote to the poison in our world. To hope—even beyond despair.”
Novels by A. K. Frailey
Last of Her Kind http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg
Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN
Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r
Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend
OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN
OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF
OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)
The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5
The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00