“Here’s one more to the collection,” said the attendant closing the door on the squawking bird. Soon it stopped complaining, looked around and hopped over to get a better view of its new location and the other members living there.
Dora removed her gloves and slapped on some sanitizer. She had been at the Aves Shield for almost 3 years now, but wasn’t sure if all was going as it should. The facility, codenamed as ‘The Ark’ was made to protect birds and save them from extinction. Here, all kinds of birds were kept in long enclosures, with an artificial ecosystem created to be as natural as possible. No humans or animals to hunt them down or experiment on them, a steady supply of food and protection from global warming and pollution had drastically increased the lifespan of most of them.
“But, for how long more”, she thought. Global warming was heating the planet up and people had started leaving for Kepler-69c. Her family had already started packing. The relocation priority was as follows:
- Members of the Government and Heads of important institutions
- Those who had contributed extensively to society in the fields of science, art, literature and drama
- People who were able to afford gold priority seats
- People who were able to afford silver priority seats
- Defence personnel and social workers
All belongings were to be packed in suitcases whose dimensions were based on their seat category. All pets and plants were to be left behind due to limited supplies and the long journey ahead.
She looked around again. Most of the attendants had already left for the day, no doubt to help with the move. Hers was the last shift. She heard the call of a Sparrow scolding her kids to settle for the night. High-up, an eagle stretched its wings, ready to call it a day. She couldn’t just leave them; once the tectonic plates started shifting at a rapid pace, there was no telling what would happen. The news channels that were still running had conflicting opinions from their ‘experts’.
She gave a sigh. There was no one to tell her what to do. She was worried that the glass walls of the birds’ habitat would crack and they would suffocate in the resulting heat. At almost 60° celsius, only the Pezoporus Occidentalis would be able to survive. But… she paused, most of these were living here for a long time, some since they were born. Would they be able to adapt to the outside world?
She contemplated this until the siren rang, a warning for those who weren’t onboard that they had only 15 minutes left. Should she let them be and hope that the cage wouldn’t be destroyed, at least till they came back? Or, should she let them go and hope that they adapt to the outside world, one devoid of humanity as it had been many years ago.
She pressed the button. Along with the fumes of sulphur and carbon dioxide from the ruptures in the ground, you could see vibrant colours till the horizon as one after another each bird took off towards freedom.
Word Count 524: FCA – Preferred (Though all kinds of comments are welcome)
The June Edition of WEP (Click here to know more).