Finnegan’s Release

The rusty flatbed lumbered along the track, the wire cage on the tray rattling and lurching with every rut. The old man heard the bird squawking. This was the place.

He pulled off where the track ran down and across the creek, where the water ran shallow, clear and cold over glistening stones, under a canopy of she-oaks and eucalypts. This was the place. He’d seen them flock here at night, winging in across the plains in twos and threes. They would chatter and fuss as the sky turned orange and pink and mauve and the reflections of the trees in the riverbend darkened and disappeared. He hooked the cage on a low limb. The bird turned its head to the side and stared at him with one round, black eye.

He lit himself a fire. This was the place.

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