The Early Bird

by Thomas Kleaton

The vultures clung to the dead tree limb, starving in the cold.

Jake checked the track ahead of his funeral train, a steam engine put into use after the eruption.

VIPs, corporation leaders, he thought. On a special train like Lincoln’s. Just like the rest. You’re all dead. Should’ve listened to the animals.

He peered at the empty caskets, their locks shattered, lids askew. He thought back to his own son, a Yellowstone guide, trampled to death by tourists like these still snapping photos of the fleeing animals when the first warning earthquakes began.

The birds will eat well today.

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