Seven crows sit on a dead kangaroo, its pouch full of silence. The dry sky looms broken, blue and grey. Flies prefer to crawl in this still heat.
Grass crackles beneath the corpse, the last strip of almostgreen. A sea of yellowbrown laps against the cast-iron highway. Clots of her blood are drying. They give their water to the wind.
An off-white Corolla rumbles to a stop with a disappointingly downwind scrabble of gravel. The boy, who refused to use a long drop, steps over the crispy grass to water a grey fencepost and a patch of grey dirt.
A shriek from the back seat. "Buk buk! Chickeeeeens!" Then a whisper: "Hungry chickens." A pudgy arm, stickypink and flailing, propels a jam crust towards the birds and the body. The murder, half a dozen strong, flap and feint and cackling leap. The car grumbles on again.
Six sets of bright eyes assess the gift.
Jam sparkles rubyred like the sun. "Raark," says the seventh bird, stabbing its beak between roo ribs to tear away a fetid scrap of flesh.
Tara lives in Canberra with her partner and their cockatiel, Pooface. She works as a union organiser. Her work has previously been published by Cicerone Journal and Post Ghost Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @Tash_because.