Descent of the Malmagni
It happened in an instant, a single instant that changed everything.
A malmagni swept down from behind me, opened its talons wide, took hold of Erin’s little body and flew off with her in its clutches, her blanket dangling from one side.
I stood in horror as the massive bird ascended into the sky, further and higher until he disappeared behind the clouds and I could see him no more. I fell to my knees and cried.
My mind raced in a semi-coherent frenzy. Erin!… Erin!… No!… No, no, NO!… Oh, Dear Mother, Dear Mother of All, I pray, please,.. I pray she be safe…. I pray she be safe…. Oh, Dear Mother, what have I done?… Why did I take my eyes off her?… What have I done,… what have I done?
I screamed at the sky, “Come back, come back with my baby!… Don’t take her from me!… Don’t you dare take her from me!”
Tog misread my excitement and bounded toward me, eager to play. The mildly euphoric effect of the dracos were taking effect, and he was effusively affectionate. I welcomed his affection and his uniwtting innocence; he was my only comfort in this moment. I embraced him and cried in his warm, soft fur.
I was already slipping into denial. “No!” I cried. “NO!… NO!… NO!” A thousand times I cried ‘no’, out loud through my tears with enormous force and from the depth and core of the excruciating pain that seemed to be ripping my insides to shreds. I knew to move this energy out of my body and crying was as good a way as any.
Beneath the tears, my only thoughts were of Search and Rescue. I was anxious to get this crying over with, enough anyway to make a call and form intelligible sentences. I skimmed my hand along the ground behind me, combing for my holophone. I was sure I left it there after talking with Trini. Yes, found it! I stretched to reach it … put the headset on … and cleared the tears from my throat. “Power on,” I said into the microphone.
“Power on,” the headset confirmed. I took a deep breath and made my call of distress.
“Access satellite grid.”
“Satellite grid accessed.”
“Access Search and Rescue.”
“Accessing Search and Rescue.”
As I waited, I thought about my husband Van. I needed to call him. I needed to tell him. And I absolutely dreaded it.