Peering down from above, I could catch the harpies unawares. They hunted smaller game in the valleys of the great canyon. Perhaps the venomous snakes they sometimes were forced to eat, and were rumored to be immune, made them so testy. Or maybe it was having to fight for food, mates, property, and status that made them vicious vixens.
At least they stayed with their own species. No harpie had ever courted a human. They’d eaten plenty.
Which is why my research was so pivotal. As the sun set, I carefully removed my night vision gear and cameras. I’d set one up under cover of darkness in this very tree. My associate would arrive soon, armed, in case my work woke them. I had no idea the harem was so large. I pray I do not wake them, because I doubt he has enough darts.
I listened as the din quieted and chirping took the place of squawking. The first stars came out as a meaty hand wrapped around my mouth.
My heart raced, but two dark almond-shaped eyes stared coldly into mine. I sighed with relief.