“Observe only. Don’t interfere.”
Those words rung in my head as another baby sea turtle lost its race to the ocean. I bit back the bile in my throat. Waves of seagulls had descended this peaceful beach at dawn, feasting on newly hatched turtles. If it weren’t for the professor and my fellow students behind me, I would have scooped up hatchlings until my arms were full.
Instead I stood frozen in place. My eyes burned with unshed tears. Poachers we were allowed to stop, but these squawking demons were off limits. One single baby flopped toward the crashing waves. Hope rose in my heart only to be dashed as it was snatched into the air inches from the water. Not a single turtle had made it to the water.
My eyes clouded over and it felt as though fire burned through my veins. This had to stop. It had to end. Energy twisted inside me, then surged through my bare feet into the sand.
The gull’s frenzied pitch changed tone within seconds. What had been a turtle massacre changed to a seagull stampede. The flock swooped away from the beach. Their voices seemed to cry out in unison: “Flee! Flee! Flee!”
Behind me I heard panicked exclamations from the others. I didn’t need to look to know what chased the gulls, but I turned anyway. A smile split my face as a giant flying sea turtle snapped up seagulls in midair. This circle of life was biting back.