018. Black

It's morning in Oddward Valley. The sun is not yet high enough to dispel the low-hanging clouds, so everything is covered in a layer of mist.

A beetle crawls out onto a rock. It clicks its pincers a few times, and then it sits still. Its hard, black exoskeleton quickly grows damp from condensation, and it flutters its wings to shake off the cold droplets.

The beetle sits for another moment, considering its surroundings. Visibility is still low, but it remembers the field in which it found food and shelter from predators the other day. The beetle scuttles down off of the rock and starts its way across the valley towards the field.

When it reaches the earthy patch, it realizes that something is wrong. Half of the field, the nearer half, has been cleared and plowed. But the other half, at the far end of the clearing, is still covered with weeds and twigs. The beetle flutters its wings uncertainly, not liking the lack of cover between it and the other end of the field, but hunger wins out over caution.

Merely a few seconds after it begins its trip across the dirt, it senses the shadow from above. The beetle snaps open its wings and shoots forward, barely evading the snatching claws of the blackbird as it dives into the mess of weeds.

The blackbird caws its frustration as it swoops over the field again, now unable to see its little black prey.