Here's a teaser, the opening paragraphs of the story I'm now working on. What do you think? (Thanks John Hemmen for Raven image)
The raven’s glossy wings sliced through the dry air, iridescent blue-black flashes reflecting the hot summer sunlight as he banked to the right following the ridgeline below. From high above, the raven searched for food. At this mid-day hour, he had the skies to himself; the other birds had long since abandoned their dawn chorus and sought shade andshelter among the three-leafed sumac and saltbush. Raven glided almost effortlessly on strong currents of warm air rising from the heated land below.
The landscape unfolded below his outstretched wings. High mesa tops, pocked with juniper and pinion pines, erupted irregularly from the dry scrublands. The mesas might offer astringent juniper berries or dark red chokecherries to eat. Spacious rolling dry lands below the mesas looked barren from this height, but the raven knew that the sagebrush, saltbush, and rabbitbrush bushes scattered throughout the dry bunchgrasses sheltered snakes, scorpions, small birds, and desert hares. Deeply-cut arroyos, ravines that slashed through the landscape. Though dry at this time of year, their nearly vertical banks gave silent testimony to the floods that would flash through them when the snow melted, or a thunderhead let loose a torrent of rain. The arroyos led to the great river winding through the semi-desert landscape. An oasis of green lined the banks of this precious river, the only year-round water in this dry land. Below the high bluffs that embraced the river, cottonwood, alder, willows, marsh grasses, reeds, river otters, and fish flourished along its banks and in its waters.
A resonant call came from upriver far below, almost a mile away. Raven knew this call. A gurgling croak produced at the back of the throat was a signal that another raven had found food. The prey must have been big enough to share – a deer carcass abandoned by a mountain Raven tucked in his glossy wings and swooped down he was barely aware of the two-legged beings who shared this landscape with him