The eagle could see everything from the rock shelf Right down the valley she could see, over the dense forest, beyond the lightly timbered country and on to those neat manmade paddocks that each year crept a little closer
In the far distance she could see the farmhouse, the stables, the sheep yards and the shearing shed. She spied the horses nosing the short grass and the dogs rattling at the end of their chains. She could even see the chickens doing their stupid scratching dance. All this and more the eagle saw, and didn’t even blink.
She was listening.
Her head flicked towards a faint grinding in the distance. Her eyes stared for a second longer and then her wings began to stretch. She tested the breeze, neck forward, head dipped. Then, with a slight spring and downward thrust of wings, she slid into the air. Over the tree tops she skimmed, almost touching them, before streaking out towards the thin dirt road that ribboned through the valley.
A small once-white bus clattered along the road leaving a trail of dust, like smoke from a fuse. At the end of the valley the bus stopped and a young girl jumped out.
‘Thanks Mr Dawson,’ the girl yelled at the bus.
‘No sweat Rache,’ the bus yelled back. ‘See ya next term. Enjoy your hols.’
For a minute after the bus had gone the girl stood quite still, eyes clenched shut, a grin kicking at the edge of her lips. She hunched herself, the grin creeping across her mouth and starting to spill over her face. When it was almost hanging off her ears, she opened her eyes wide, leaped into the air and yahoo’d to the hills and mountains that crouched around her.
The eagle called back.
At once the girl looked up. She smiled and waved as she always did.
‘It’s holidays!’ she laughed up ‘into the sky. ‘Holidays! See ya soon.’
The eagle stared down at the girl. hovered for a few seconds longer, and then with a tilt of her wings, headed back to the mountains. The girl watched the bird go, then grabbed her case and walked up the hill towards the house.
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