From Siberia and the cold continent they arrive, to make home, however temporary. To eat. To survive. The Great Northern Diver. The Arctic Skua. Waxwing and Redwing. Snow Bunting. Short-eared Owl. Guillemot. Brent Geese in their tens of thousands, huddled in the cold mud of the grey estuaries, arcing over forlorn skies. Oystercatchers from Norway, stabbing the clay with flaming bills; Curlew, somewhere, it is rumoured. The great migrations of the world. While humans forge papers, dignity trafficked and stripped, never to be accepted, caged in a caravan, paying with their lives to survive and eat the carrion carcass freedom.
There was a flickering on the screen: a small dot heading towards the mainland. Intelligence said the dot came from Africa, but intelligence wasn’t everything. The dot was uncontactable – recognised signals were not received. Codes failed. Some said it was coming as part of a deal, a contra agreement with certain military or government agencies. Its looming shadow headed for the heart of the countryside. Grey warplanes shot through East Anglian skies – a deathly escort. But all was safe – the dot Nigerian and allied.
For the rest of the world, the buzz of rolling news, channels upon channels of silence.
A plastic blue bucket caught the breeze and there were queues at the ice cream stall. She made her way towards the pier and the promenade. The summer season hadn’t been so busy for years. She looked out to sea: a cloud was on the horizon. It looked strange and was approaching fast. Down on the beach, sunbathers began to brush their limbs as if they were wiping them clean. The cloud seemed to be falling out of the sky and onto them. It was. Then it hit her, too. It was a swarm of thousands upon thousands of ladybirds.