A longer microfiction for Mastodon.
People were cruel to the girl with chickenfeet. ‘She’s hideous!’ they would cackle in her face.
‘The poor, ugly thing,’ others would whisper behind her back.
She bore it all with hunched shoulders and a leaden heart.
At night, she would stare at her feet and flex the long, scaly toes with their talons, and she would try to picture them smooth and bland and ordinary.
Every time she did, she grew a little smaller, choked by silence and shame.
She could pluck her feathers and hide her arms in long sleeves, but nothing could disguise her chickenfeet.
Until one day, surrounded by laughter and pity and a world that wanted to crush her into a shape she could never fit, all her rage and frustration came shrieking out.
Her cry was so high and sharp that those who heard it bled from the ears and writhed in the dirt. It was a voice with power unlike any they had witnessed.
She ripped off her sleeves and the humble wrappings on her feet and they saw not a girl with chickenfeet but a harpy as beautiful and terrible as a falcon.
She flexed the wings she had been trained to hide and the talons she had been told to hate as her cry went on and tears came to her eyes.
‘Please stop,’ they begged her.
And as the shriek died in her throat, she realised that her difference was power and that she should never have given in to silence.
Her reign began that day.
Image by Alexandra / Alexas_Fotos, used under CC0.