Friday, May 11, 2012
Manglefoot vs. The Beast -- flash fic
For weeks, a robin hopped around our backyard. He flew short, low distances, into the lilac, atop the woodpile. Mostly he hung around the feeder. He had an odd hop, complete with wing that stretched out to balance him. One day, I got a good look with my binoculars. His right leg hung by a thread, the useless part dragging like the end of a ragged fishing line. I called him Manglefoot. He could still hunt earthworms, head cocked, listening, and then yanking them from the ground.
I haven't seen Manglefoot in a week now. I worry. There aren't too many stray cats in the neighborhood, and my yard is fenced. But still. I know it's not good news for a disabled wild thing. Maybe this is the end of his story:
Manglefoot vs. The Beast
The garage roof was far too peaked for a secure perch, but with puffed red chest, Manglefoot made his stand.
Then again, he thought as he tumbled gracelessly to the ground below, one could always make one's stand from a cracked patio paver.
Menace and furry heaved its frothy-jawed bulk at him; a blur of black and white fur that was only, humiliatingly, eight weeks old. Manglefoot opened his beak and screeched before thrusting with his patented earthworm-slaying stab, guaranteed to nail the largest, fattest worm or the eye of the evilest pup.
Perhaps, he mused, he shouldn't have sipped so much dandelion dew that morning. For his always-accurate, never-miss stab plonked the pup's delicate nose, with howling results. Chubby pink belly pitched back and forth as the beast cried.
"Oh, stop your moaning," said Manglefoot. "It's just a peck."
The pup stopped, whimpering, and trembled piteously. Manglefoot sighed. He was the one without a leg, damn it! Still, he hopped over and tapped the pup's head with a wing.
"There, there. It's all right now. Stop crying. Chin up. That's it. Er, good little monster."
Whilst the terrible beast sniffed, Manglefoot told it stories of brave robins past, until finally, it seemed to pull itself together. The pup, who Manglefoot gathered was called "No" (humans had no creativity at all when it came to naming things), toddled off to dig up some rosebushes, and Manglefoot hopped along behind, watching fresh, moist dirt fly, replete with worms and beetles. There was some use, after all, for the beast.
Yours in sappiness,
One more thing--It's the last Prediction ever hosted by Lily Childs. Hop on over. I'll be there shortly, sharing the last sip of champagne with whoever dares to try my glass.