Edit: 'Change' Write Off
In the dank morning mist, high in the trees, you could hear the four little voices. They were murmuring in their own little worlds. But they were ready, they could sense the world beyond their world, waiting just beyond the barrier.
In the final hours of their first life, the urge to break that wall between worlds grew to be insatiable. Their minds were simple, and this instinctive urge drove them all into action for the very first time.
Nothing, they knew nothing about themselves. Each movement of a muscle was a whole new discovery, it was enthralling and empowering. The vitality that fueled their feeble first movements was unparalleled.
She watched. She listened. She remained silent, not wanting to miss one moment. Perched on the very edge of the nest, she bent caressingly over her clutch, watching but not interfering. Never interfering. It was sacrilege against nature’s course.
Her keen sense of hearing could hear the acceleration of the tiny hearts. Hours, it seemed like, in between their cries. Each rest between pushing and pecking seemed to drag on endlessly.
The dew of the early day disappeared as the sun drank it up, thirsty from its climb into the sky. And still, she did not move.
There was a crack in the largest shell. The scent of new life flooded the air. Soon, but not soon enough, a small, hooked beak could be seen poking through.
This one had great willpower. But even the greatest and strongest need rest. And rest he did.
Music, the hesitant music of the hatchlings leaked out of their shells now. The crackling of shells between hours was lethargically rhythmic. Their keening voices chimed in as life seeped into their being.
Three hatchlings huddled beneath their mother that evening. The smallest egg, it had been silent for too long. Nature had no room for the weak. Nature also knew no pity. She felt nothing but the drive of instinct as she moved carefully to roll the egg out of the nest.
She rested her cruel beak against the unbroken shell. But suddenly, as though spurred on by his mother’s presence, a peck, weak but definite, vibrated through the shell.
For a change, maybe just this once, natural selection would not be so selective.