Heroes, p.30
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       Heroes, p.30

           Leigh Barker

  Good Intentions Pave the Road to Hell

  The old stork was tired, and frankly she was a bit fed up, what with all this flying about for no good reason. And the name the others had given her and her clan really got up her nose: The idiots who carry those screaming, smelly bundles. Of course, the others said it in Storkish, so this has to be a rough translation, though it’s near enough.

  Truth be told, today the two bundles she was carrying were extra smelly and noisy, and the constant screaming and gurgling was so irritating. The sooner she dropped them off, the better. Then home for a nice fish and frog supper. Yeah right, fat chance, with Him At Home doing the hunting. He’d be off with his layabout friends sunning themselves on the lakeshore. Typical.

  The storm was getting worse, if that was possible. The wind howled around her, and the rain was turning to hailstones the size of… ah, hailstones. Which also showed that all the noise and being thrown about was affecting her ability to… that thing that you do in your head… think? Yes, think.

  A vicious gust of wind caught her and flipped her onto her back. Not pleasant. She righted herself and squinted into the freezing rain streaming out of the black sky. The bundles dangling from her long beak were still protected by the weather screen, but maintaining the safety bubble in these conditions was exhausting, and she was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate. Lightning bolts passed by on their way to the ground, causing her feathers to rise, releasing their trapped warmth and chilling her even more. She checked her internal satnav. At least three thousand breaths. She would not survive that long, and worse still, the bundles would have ceased well before then, which, although a blessing for the quiet, wouldn’t go down well in her annual review. She made her decision, dipped her wing and turned, letting the howling wind carry her back the way she’d come.

  Almost at once, the hail turned back to rain, as if the storm god approved of her action. The wind lifted her and she spread her wings fully, surfing the storm to safety.

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