(This is the first installment in my new feature “317”, in which each piece is exactly 317-words long. Visit the 317 page to find out why I chose this number.)
She shifted her body beneath her leather wings and tried to ignore the late-afternoon sun shining through the leaves and onto her closed eyelids. The previous night had been tedious and draining, and her sleep all day had not yet fully recovered her. How those men with rifles had found her home in the branches of this tree, she did not know, but she was sure that none would find it again. She had rid those men of options for further spreading news of her.
Far away she heard a scurrying coming toward her and opened her eyes. She had silenced the men, but hadn’t had anything from them to drink, and she was thirsty. It was not often she went a whole night without filling her veins.
She yawned and stretched open her wings that extended far past the branches on either side. The copper edges lining the leather gleamed in the direct sunlight. Copper-leather wings. They were her greatest beauty.
She felt the start of a drizzle and folded her wings back onto her naked body. She reached out a blood-red tongue and gently licked up the droplets that clung to her skin. The rain was cool and felt good in her mouth, but it was not enough to sate her veins. She would need something more.
She cocked her head and pointed her ears, tracking the still-scurrying animal as it made its way closer. An alarm blared far away in the other direction, and she turned to narrow her eyes at the distant rooftops. Creatures scurried there, too, not on forest floors, but on paved streets.
She looked down at the animal that was now at the foot of her tree, unaware of her thirsty mouth above. Then with wings spread wide she swooped to the ground, caught the animal with her teeth, and flew off toward the town, copper glinting in the sun.