A black-tailed gull glided over Toyama Bay. One eye scanned for the shadows of fish beneath the waves. The other remained on the dark shape bobbing up and down near the shore.
It had been there since the afternoon. Finally, an hour after dusk, rocks snagged the thing and held it. When the water receded and exposed it completely, the gull saw that it was a human.
Humans didn’t usually frequent the beach at night, and never on this side of the rocks, but the gull knew that where humans were, there was food. Perhaps this one would feed him, he thought.
He landed next to it and prodded it with his bill. There was no response. Maybe it was dead. He hopped onto the human’s belly to get a closer look.
One of its hands was wrapped around something in a fist. Food? He pecked at the fingers to try to loosen its grip, and was sprayed with seawater as his perch spasmed.
He beat his wings, startled. The human turned over, clutching the algae-covered rocks, and threw up. Anything that smelled like
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