One of them is lying in the dust close to the fence. The others are facing her. Her eyes are half closed. She looks tired, breathing deeply. The plumes of her chest go up and down. Why is she looking away? I wonder. Why has she turned her back? One of the others comes forward, reptilian legs stalking, thick-boned toes stretching, claws pointed as murderers’ knives. She advances so slowly and still the one in the dust looks away. The stalker lowers her shoulders, clucks quietly, indifferently, and pecks. It is a hard peck. An attack. I recoil. And the one in the dust merely blinks. This goes on and, because of the cruelty, I turn away. But I go back. Now those blinking eyes are closed, and the dead feathers are pale with the dirt. And the stalker is squawking excitedly and the other ones are gathering around. Maybe they’re taking turns now. But the big one is still in charge. The pecking is now a feeding. Each blow is a ravening bite. Until the stalker takes hold with her beak and begins tugging and ripping from the body, then noisily flapping her wings and rising up in flight with the dead one’s springing, uncoiling intestine dangling pinkly and wetly from her mouth. And in the air now there is not just this horror, the savage congener and the other-worldly entrails, there is my innocence and my feeling of safety, my childhood trapped as it ceases to exist.
has been interested in flash fiction ever since 2016 when he received Flash Fiction Forward (ed. James Thomas and Robert Shapard) as a surprise gift. He read the first page and was hooked and he has been ever since. His work has been published by Every Day Fiction and Flash Frontier, as well as some other excellent lit-zines, and can also be found in two books published by Ad Hoc Fiction. He works as an editor and lives with his wife and two children in Devon, England.