Wednesday's Seagulls

I veered from the loop to snatch the decapitated seagull. If I didn't have a zombie after me I could catch my own seagulls, but until then I'd live on Wednesday's leavings. For the last three days, I'd used these most of these precious minutes to pound and scrape at the bolts holding the strut in place; a few moments to simply breathe felt almost like a vacation. My hands plucked as I waited, spiny feathers inflaming my savaged hands.

When Wednesday shambled into view around the rock I took a deep breath, waiting for him to come close enough that I could trot around him and make him scuttle all the way back to the rock, treasuring every minute I could to try to rest.

First trip of the day, finished. Dozens more to go.

On the sixth circuit I finished plucking and used my pocketknife's last remaining blade to scrape out the bowels, then spread the carcass on the wreck's south wing for what cooking the sun provided. My mouth tightened at the thought of an evening spent perched on the wrecked plane devouring that juicy pink flesh, only faintly grilled by the sun-heated wing, watching Wednesday shuffle back and forth, frustrated by six feet of thigh-deep salt water. Seagull and a couple pints of collected rain water would hold me together for another day.

Then I went back to heaving at the rock. My head spun and my guts burned, but I pushed for a panicked few moments every time we circled the rock. My twelfth session, the rock creaked and left a finger-wide gap behind it. I left the remaining skin from my right knee behind in payment, stumbling and swearing until the sting stopped.

A brief rain shower interrupted me on my twenty-second trip around the rock. Wednesday kept after me, but with the slope too slippery to ascend I contented myself with following the easier path around the shoreline, soaking up water in my shirt and licking it from crevices in the rock.  I lost track of how many times we went around before the rain stopped, the sun dried the rocks, and I could climb back up again.

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