They begin to stir at dusk, heavy bodies shifting uneasily in their ungainly nests. They speak, their voices plaintive and almost human, a little girl crying “no,” or “why,” helplessly, meaninglessly. They circle wide–graceless flyers–fat bodies ponderously suspended against the fading sky as they rise to the top of the towers of the dead.
They eat dead flesh, bodies strewn across a bare stone floor, thinly veiled beneath a cloak of dust. For a moment their voices firm, take on more vibrant pitch and timbre, edge uneasily closer to words, pleas, names. Families haunt the base of the tower, strain to catch the last words of the newly dead. Most do not; one voice is so easily lost among many. But some do: some discover their own name out of babel, and turn away shuddering and pale. They do not return, and do not sleep easily thereafter, fearing now the hour of their death.
Those who hear often have their throats cut and tongues burned when they die.
They return to their nests at dawn, black horrors vague against the sky. They murmur sleepily to each other, their voices no closer to human than any bird’s.