Updated: Jun 30, 2019
Today is a hot day. I can feel the heat flowing through me. I am soaring higher than I usually allow myself to but I need to feel the breeze flood through my wings. Today is not a day for hunting; it is not a day for feasting; my body only craves the crisp, cool air.
My flight is beginning to lull now; the hot breath of the sun is slowly defeating me, the wind hasn’t been a strong enough ally. I contemplate landing as I see shade beginning to form, and now, thankfully in the distance, I witness the sun setting.
I continue into the night.
I find myself floating through the night sky, without direction and only a sliver of light left to guide me. I glance around at the desert and see nothing but the sand and its dunes, slowly becoming murkier as the night rages on and, not far in the distance, a mysterious figure.
I fly closer, stealthily – to make out the figure – and, to my surprise, it is a man. He is cloaked in darkness, as am I, but the last remnants of the dying sun cling to him. He continues to wander through the desert, unbeknownst to him that I am circling above.
He is carrying something in his hand, the only thing that appears to be in his possession. It is shiny and appears heavy and sleek. I wonder to myself what this mysterious object does, and then I see him kneeling and pointing it at a dune in front of him. He looks up at the dune and then down at the object, up then down, up then down. Nothing happens. Surely it is too dark for whatever he is going to do? I fly further back so that he doesn’t spot me. I watch him. I can’t stop watching him, and I want to know what he is doing with this strange brick.
I have little patience. I fly closer once again and I am circling above him once more. He rises and continues to walk slowly through the desert and I follow silently. He and the night are so quiet, I do my best to do the same, but, then, oh no…
He turns so swiftly I barely have time to react and within seconds his arms are raised and the brick’s eye is facing me. How did he hear me? I want to leave but something is compelling me to stay. Curiosity grabs hold of me and, suddenly— click— the light, the shining, bright flash of piercing light strikes me so hard in the eyes that I can feel it burning to the back of my skull, and then…
Praise me Allah, I’ve stunned the poor creature. This poor thing. Falcons do have such sensitive eyes, I always forget about that. I shouldn’t have gone so close, oh poor thing. He is very beautiful; he would make such a lovely gift for my Sheikh and, when the sun rises, I’ll take a photograph of him for my Sheikh to hang.
Right, I need to find something to wrap him in.
Allah, I’m so glad this happened at night, it would have been too hot to carry him back during the day. If this had happened earlier, I would’ve had to leave him, and if my Sheikh ever found out I left such a beautiful bird out in the desert; well, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made me search the whole of the Liwa for him!
Nearly there now.
“My Sheikh, oh thank Allah you are up, I have something for you.” He immediately spots my camera and I know he’s wondering what I always do this time of night.
“You were out photographing again? I don’t understand how you can do this? Always so late.”
“I have a gift for you Sheikh. A magnificent falcon I found, far out in the desert. He’s wonderful don’t you think?”
“Oh, he is spectacular, isn’t he? It’ll be so nice to have another bird around. Thank you so much. Say, what is wrong with his eyes? They’re all red.”
“I’m sorry Sheikh but I accidentally stunned him with the flash from my camera. He was flying above and I just had to try and get a picture. He looked so glorious.”
“Ah, yes I see. Well, put him inside for now on the falcon perch. Tomorrow I shall get everything sorted for him but for now let him rest. Let his eyes recover.”
I open my eyes and, by the heavens, they’re still so sore. It is morning now and all I can see are a leader and his men standing before me. I think I know why I am here. My future master approaches me; his examining eyes meet mine and he smiles. He gently strokes my head and the sense of calm I feel tells me there’s no need to fight back. I hear him yell for something called a burqa and, moments later, one of his men return with a black hood. I’ve seen one of these before on one of my friends. I’m starting to get nervous now, but my Master catches my eye and flashes me another smile and, somehow, I know we’re going to be great friends. He approaches me once more and places the hood on my head. Again, I feel no need to fight, I just feel calm.
I can see nothing but darkness, I can only hear. My Master strokes my chest once more and then I hear him proudly announce my name to his men.
From this moment on, I am Saeed.
Lorna Codrai has a BA in English Literature from the University of Buckingham. She currently works as a freelance writer and film journalist in the UK and the UAE. Her work has appeared in The Observer, Shawati' Magazine, Uncomfortable Revolution, Wow Beauty and Cultured Vultures, and she runs her own film blog: I am Jack's Film Addiction. Her greatest passions are film and travel, and she is currently working on her first novel. Find her on Twitter: @lornacodrai