They turned the corner along the gravel road, around the eucalyptus tree and passed the empty car park. Beside it was a grassy plot of land, lined with fake flowers, stone angels, and headstones of all different sizes.
It was quiet except for the calls of magpies and butcher birds, some of which were feeding on the grass seeds. They scanned the cemetery, feeling a sense of distant sorrow, when they paused – a few steps ahead, a small multicoloured shape lay still on the ground. They approached it slowly.
A lorikeet, he said.
He inched closer and knelt down, then turned it on its back to inspect it; ants emerged from its hollowed-out eye and open beak and skittered around its body.
How did it die? She asked.
Don’t know. Its wings don’t look broken. Maybe it was electrocuted by the powerlines. Or had a heart attack.
She crouched down and stroked its stomach lightly.
Such beautiful colours.
Even in death it looks pretty.
They glanced back at the cemetery.
The circle of life. Should we bury it?
They stood and took one final look at the lorikeet’s small frame; its feathers were so vibrant that they almost glowed. It looked peaceful, disconnected from the decay of its own body.
They named him Icarus, and walked onwards.
Emily Rogers is a Brisbane-based writer who enjoys writing scripts and short stories. Her work tends to talk about feminism and the complexities of human relationships. You can find her binge-watching anime or hunched over her laptop rewriting dialogue over and over again until it sounds human.