Rook was busy on the Motorway, he tore and dragged at a flattened carcase while his adolescent offspring stood on the hard shoulder, clamouring.
Balancing risk against necessity, Rook stuffed his beak and crop, leaving it until the last moment as articulated juggernauts rolled by, shaking the ground. He rose on oily-black wings, flapping towards the row of gaping throats. His children stood like three little rag-bags, wings a-quiver, screaming for food. He stuffed their beaks with dusty morsels, then, dodging the traffic, returned for more.
Again and again he visited the squashed carcase, snatching at fur and flesh, fighting off competing scavengers, sometimes loosing a few more feathers, as he played “last across” with speeding Porsches.
Rook was a bigamist; this wasn’t his only family. Alternating with the first lot he would rise from the fumes and slope away towards a twiggy nest in a wood on the opposite side. Every year white eggs would hatch, skinny naked chicks opening wide demanding mouths, both wives shrieking for more of his time. Sometimes he wondered if this was all there was to life.
Soon the first-hatched fledglings would attempt to follow him to the middle of the road. Early on a Sunday morning this might be possible, but in the rush-hour on a weekday…well!
He was delayed by an army convoy thundering by, camouflaged monsters almost nose to tail. He waited by a dandelion on the central barrier. The carcase was obliterated by clouds of dust. Overcome by greed the young rooks hurled themselves towards their father. Black feathers whirled above the road, tiny corpses splattering blood on speeding windscreens. It was over.
Rook looked across and saw that his children were gone. He pulled a yellow petal from the dandelion, then rose and flapped slowly away on heavy wings.