I’ve been away from the Kitchen for a while due to packing up and moving to a new place. I’m beginning to get things back in order with a few minutes to devote to writing here and there as a break from unpacking.
This morning it’s Flash Fiction. The prompt came from Flashy Fiction this morning. In some ways it’s more creative non-fiction than flash fiction, but the elements of fiction took over the dialogue. I’m taking that as license to call if fiction.
This is a fictionalized account of an experience of mine during my young adult stage of life. Yes, this really did happen. All the salient points are accurate. The actual tale is much longer and going into the making of an MG novel. I hope you enjoy it.
I heard him long before I found the source of the peeping sound. Peeps always meant that Mom had brought another orphan home to raise. The tiny one-note call didn’t prepare me for the reality.
Nestled against Mom’s chest were two huge eyes surrounded by a mound of fluff. A beak below the eyes gaped with intense need for the next small ball of hamburger wedged between Mom’s thumb and forefinger. She obviously wasn’t fast enough for the beak closed with a snap, only to open again with a resultant “Peep.”
I’d never seen an owlet before. The kitchen in spring was always filled with cages of smaller orphaned baby birds. “Where did you get it, Mom?”
When she looked up, her face glowed with the joy of feeding the small creature. “He’d fallen from his nest. Poor little thing was soaked and shivering. I just hope I can keep him from going into pneumonia.”
“How much of him is fluff?”
“Most of him. I doubt he weighs more than three or four ounces. I put him on my shoulder, under my hood and held him steady while I walked out of the woods and on home. He’s very young. His talons haven’t hardened yet.”
I saw the bag of mushrooms slumped on the other end of the kitchen table. “I’ll get those cut and to soaking while you deal with feeding him,” I said. “You know, I’ve never even seen an adult owl this close.”
“Neither have I.”
Another peep erupted from the ball of fluff. He wasn’t full yet.
“He must have been out of the nest for a while to be this hungry,” I said. “When I finish these ‘shrooms, I can feed him or make dinner. Which would you prefer?”
I could see that she wasn’t going to release custody of our new foster kid. I used the majority of the thawed hamburger to make chili for dinner.
Mom had prepared a big crock bowl with an old towel inside to use as a nest. She placed the owlet inside to stay warm and covered the bowl with a half-peck basket.
“If votes count, I nominate “Peeper” as his name,” I said from across the room.
Mom smiled as she straightened. “Seems appropriate. “Peeper” it is.”
- Friday’s Fledglings (realruth.wordpress.com)
- Five wonderful bird sounds of the Wales Coast Path (visitwales.co.uk)
- Bird apartments allow you to spy on nesting birds (lostateminor.com)
- Red-tailed hawk saved from near death in Darien (darientimes.com)