Animal Dilemmas – Eagle Bat
The Bat was fully aware that it has just fought its last battle. Its legs were broken and its wings tired. With the little strength it had left, it adjusted its body so it could gaze at the Fox’s corpse. It was proud and happy it had given its life to achieve something no bat had done before. It knew its broken bones will never heal and flying was out of the question.
The smell of blood was carried by the breeze and flooded the valley, but no beasts were in its range. High in the sky a lonely eagle was flying majestic and sharp-eyed. It scanned the valley in search of prey. The Bat’s body was too small and blended with the ground, but the orange-brown Fox was an easy target. The Eagle easily spotted it and slowly descended in a vast spiral. It finally dove like an arrow and landed its claws across the Fox’s body.
It attempted to lift it up and fly away to higher grounds. It knew that feeding in the valley was not safe and that there were bigger beast than itself. It never left anything to chance and its pride did not overrule its decisions. After several pulls in which its powerful wings lifted clouds of dust it realized that the Fox was too heavy.
It looked around in all directions and judged it safe to risk a few minutes on the ground. So it started feeding pulling chunks of flesh and gut and sliding them down its throat. The freshly killed Fox tasted better than anything the Eagle has ever eaten. It had never eaten anything bigger than a rabbit. Foxes were to cunning to catch even when they were babies.
Just before it finished it noticed the Bat. It originally had planned to tear a chunk of the Fox and take it up to the mountains. But when it saw the Bat it decided to take it instead. With one graceful leap it grabbed the limp body and flew away.
The Bat felt the claws and the jerk from the pull; its eyes opened widely. At first it thought that death itself was sucking it to a vortex in the sky. It has never been so high in the clouds. It could see the entire valley, the ocean, the killdeer colony, the Whale’s skeleton and straight ahead the mountains. It didn’t expect this treat, so it smiled inside.
The Eagle glided effortlessly, back in its own kingdom, the sky. After a short flight it reached the mountains and soon its high nest. It dropped the bat in it and landed on a near by rock. It was calm and proud surveying the valley with its sharp eye for one last time for the day.
When the bat landed in the nest it woke the recently hatched baby eagles. After a nap they were hungry and noisy. They cried out, mouths gaping, waiting for a piece of chewed up flesh. It occurred to the Bat that it would serve as a meal to those young princes and princesses of the bird kingdom.
For some reason it was not bothered by that thought. Instead, somehow, the Bat concluded that its spirit will remain alive in the new bodies of the eagles. If it could kills a fox and fly in the clouds in one day why not live forever, the Bat thought and smiled. Immorality was tempting and a painful death was a small price to pay.
The thoughts were slowly getting fuzzier, fading away from the Bat’s mind. In a last blurry dream the bat saw itself as an young powerful eagle, the ruler of the skies. It flew over the valley strong and proud scanning the earth for its favorite prey – foxes.
The Eagle returned to the nest to tend to its newborns. It never looked at the bat again. It bent over and regurgitated some semi-digested fox flesh into the babies’ gaping throats. They swallowed and went back to sleep.
That was the last thing the Bat saw before its soul silently decanted from its body and joined the wind.
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photograph by Rod Waddington