(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Herb of The Haps with Herb. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, please leave your suggestion in the comments – only one suggestion per person!)
It sure wasn’t everyday that you see one, that’s for sure. Nick had returned daily for several hours to the swamp in the hope of catching sight of the critically endangered Zapata Rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai), one of the world’s most threatened waterbirds. The sighting had been by two staff members of the Natural History Museum of which Nick was in charge. He had sent them out one afternoon on a mission to “sight the Zapata Rail” as one had not been seen in over four decades.
His staff’s sighting had been reported in newspapers up and down the country. It was brilliant publicity for the museum. In fact, the two staff members were almost overnight sensations themselves. Wonderful!
Nick now knew then that there was definitely at least one of these birds in this swamp. That is why he had returned for five days in a row on his annual vacation. His vacation ended tomorrow. Today was his last chance.
Suddenly a Zapata Rail’s head protruded from the sawgrass at the side of the bank. After a few seconds the bird emerged slowly into the open and stopped.
Nick raised his gun.
The stuffed Cyanolimnas cerverai is proving to be a popular addition to the museum’s collection.