Appropriate Human Behaviour

The cat turned its back to him and started grooming. After a pause, he pinched the end of its tail.

It hissed and spun, swiping at the empty air where his hand had been.

‘Ellanas!’

He looked guiltily at his mentor.

‘Tail pulling is not an appropriate human behaviour.’

He sulked and crossed his arms. ‘Tail pulling is not an appropriate human behaviour.’

‘Neither is mimicry.’

He groaned and flopped back on the ground. ‘Can I go back to being a crow now?’

 

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay.… Read more

RSVP to Save the World

‘We await your response by sparrow?’ I murmured, reading the letter again. Something about destiny, the fate of many, and ‘answering the call’ …

I turned it over and looked at the wax seal, now broken; it looked like a penny had been pressed into the wax.

The letter weighed on my mind, however. When I left for work the next morning, I stopped by the gently chittering hedge on the street.

A little brown head poked through the leaves, followed by four more.

They stared at me with their button-black eyes, then launched into the air in a cheeping flock.… Read more

Just a pigeon

‘It’s just a pigeon,’ said the girl. ‘Let it die.’

The boy lifted it with gentle hands. It was too weak to struggle. He could feel its heartbeat against his fingertips. ‘It just needs help, that’s all.’

He nursed it day and night. Warmed it by a lamp, cleaned its wounds. Fed it from his hand. Every day it grew stronger. And larger.

After a week, it was the size of a cat. A month, a dog. It gazed at him with adoring eyes. And one day, it would carry him into the sky.

 

Another microfiction for Mastodon. Image by congerdesign from Pixabay, used under Pixabay License.… Read more

Wings Out

‘I don’t know if I can do it.’ The ground fell away mere inches from his feet, a chasm of rock walls and thorny brambles.

‘You can!’ she called from across the fall. ‘I know you can!’

‘How?’ His voice was hoarse.

She smiled and spread her wings, the feathers catching the light with an irridescent shine.

‘Because I didn’t think I could do it either.’

He shuffled his own wings on his back.

All there was left was to breathe in, wings out, and make a running a leap.

Another microfiction for Mastodon. Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay, used under Pixabay license.… Read more

Another day

He made it to the rooftop, fingers slipping on the rain-slicked tiles, skin cold and stung by the falling sky.

She huddled by the false chimney. Her arms hugged her knees to her chest. Gull-grey wings shivered tight to her back as she gazed up at the storm-laden clouds.

He settled beside her and placed a hesitant hand on her shoulder.

‘I was going to do it,’ she said. ‘I was really going to do it.’

‘There’s always tomorrow,’ he said.

Always another day to fly.

Another microfiction for Mastodon. Image by Pezibear / Petra, used under Pixabay License.… Read more

The Girl With Chickenfeet

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.… Read more

Really There (Microfiction Roundup)

A collection of microfiction written for Mastodon.

 

REALLY THERE

Every night, woken by half-remembered dreams of cracked bones and dripping saliva, she saw the eyes. Two burning pinpricks within a boiling shadow, dark against the darkness.

Every night, she would close her eyes, and when she woke both eyes and shadow were gone, leaving only a lingering unease.

Tonight, she kept her eyes open. Her head tilted left, then right; the eyes followed her.

‘You’re really there, aren’t you?’

–Yes–

‘What — what are you?’

–Your dream–

She licked dry lips. ‘Then — why are you out here?’

–I scared myself–

She considered a moment, then lifted the other end of the blanket.… Read more

Old Thing

She fed it every day. A scarred, feather-bare magpie with sharp eyes and a greedy croak.

First, it watched from the garden fence. She left it fruit on the ground, and never saw it take it.

Then, it fanned its tattered wings at her window, and she spread seeds along the sill.

She tried to touch it once. Its peck raised an angry wound.

It stopped coming, as old things do. But sometimes in the sunset sky, she would see a flash of iridescent wing, and wonder.Read more