Martha (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Martha (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Photo Credit: Alistair Forbes

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag) for providing this week’s challenging photo.

Jacob hesitated before pushing the SEND button on his cell phone.

Martha has arrived.

Three simple words, setting in motion events that would change destiny.

Jacob’s heart pounded in his chest as he waited for a reply. His years of work taught him many things, but patience was not one of them. Seconds later, the sound of a xylophone signaled a response. Along with a question.

The prophecies are true?

Jacob disavowed religious mumbo-jumbo, but his pious patron would never understand the complexities of DNA genomes and genetic re-engineering, let alone accept the concept of wormholes and time travel.

They are true, Jacob lied, then added,

Make sure your operative is in the right place.

Or this will not work, thought Jacob. He could not be certain that Martha would return to her last home, the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens. It seemed the logical destination.

His patron, sensing his doubts, sent a reassuring message.

The surveillance technology of the Western world will be defeated.

God will ensure our success.

Jacob walked to the small cage and peered inside. A small brown pigeon pecked at her food.

“Eat well, Martha. You deliver an important message today.”


The inspiration for my highly fanciful story is the real Martha, the last of the Passenger Pigeons. It was only after I wrote my story did I find out that a Carrier Pigeon and a Passenger Pigeon were not the same bird. Even though my story may be for the birds, the real story is fascinating, and I recommend you check it out.


Century After Extinction, Passenger Pigeons Remain Iconic—And Scientists Hope to Bring Them Back