Art: Sadia Islam/E R Ronny
Some days you just can't win. This was definitely right up there in the 'disasters' column. For the first time since being appointed Sheriff, he felt powerless. During his fairly-short reign at the top of the food chain, he had grown accustomed to averted eyes and fleeing wings in his wake. Today, however, the Sheriff badge he so proudly wore, lay askance as his brethren jostled and hounded him out of the way in manic gluttony. Chaos reigned supreme.
The Sheriff had been warned by many war-torn veterans who had lost a piece of themselves during this day. It came with every 12th passing moon and the skyline would briefly turn red in anticipation of the chaos. This was the Sheriff's very first and he was tasked with maintaining the Law, like all days. He could tell by the grimaces and silent looks the veterans gave him that this would not be an easy task. “Not many Lawmen live to tell the tale of the 12th moon,” was all they'd say.
Even that very morning, the Sheriff remained unsuspecting as every one of them perched in a procession on the overhead cables, carrying out The Wake. This was tradition, or so he'd heard. All of them remained poised, with bated breath, as the Walkers below carried out a bizarre blood ritual. The Sheriff wondered for a second what it all meant, but decided not to think about the Inferiors on the ground. He had more pressing matters to attend to, as the rest of them ruffled their feathers and settled into a predatory pose.
Just as he started to think that all this tension was uncalled for, it happened. And it was like nothing he'd ever seen before. Fresh, glistening intestines were dumped on the side of the road and, out of the corner of his eyes, he saw all of them swoop down to devour it. The Sheriff stared in horror, transfixed by the teeming mass of wings scraping over one another to get to the warm, fresh innards first. Very
Soon, there were several dumping sites all round and apart from the inviting aroma of lunch, one thing prevailed: anarchy.
But still the Sheriff remained, frozen in stance, as the clan paraded in insanity and ripped each other apart to get there first. What was till last night an exemplary species showing how the Winged Ones were better off than the blundering, murderous Inferiors on the ground, had been reduced to just the same, worse even. The meaning of the ritual hit home. It showed they weren't better off from the Walkers, not really. Sure, they were slaves who provided food for the Winged, but when push came to shove, they were all really the same. And with that in mind, the Sheriff shoved aside the badge to join the swarm of crows below, fighting over the last piece of cow intestine.