Age: 13, Grade: 8
School Name: St Luke’s School, New York, NY
Educator: Caroline Muro
Category: Flash Fiction
The Feather Flood
The day my mother died, my town was flooded in feathers. Bright, angry, red feathers streamed from the sky in a torrential rain as if their sole purpose was to crush our world. Between the down, talons curled and unfurled, lashing out at whatever passerby was unlucky enough to be near them. From between the blood red veil, beaks would dive in and out of focus, snapping at people and wailing their somber ballad. Unlike the people swarming around in fearful huddles, my mother would have laughed and sang, charming them with her voice’s sweet song. She adored birds-all the many and every sort. Birds seemed to love her as well, perching on her fingers and arms with the slightest bit of persuasion. Her favorite was the scarlet finch, constantly claiming the following fact throughout my childhood: “Only something as divine as a bird could take the color red, stained with the thoughts of hatred and blood, and give it wings to create the most beautiful of sights!” My stomach clenched. I didn’t understand why she had to leave me. Why was she gone? I began to run, hating her for leaving me. I crashed into people, talons, beaks. The skin on my arms tore with each menacing swipe and tears streamed down my face as heavily as the feathers were falling. I ran into the whirlwind of birds–not just birds but scarlet finches. I let them swallow me whole, waiting for them to take me to her . . .