Here’s a short I wrote a couple years ago. Back then I didn’t really write shorts at all, but I knew this one had to be put to paper, and as soon as the idea occurred to me I got writing.

It turned out to be one of the first pieces I considered good enough to share, and most of those that read it have enjoyed it. Do you?


Stephen flapped his arms with all of his might, but it was no good; he fell just like everyone else had. His laughter caught in his throat when he saw his brother and sister beneath him, and all he could do was flap harder.

The ground knocked the air out of his lungs, and his scream was silenced. All he could hear was a terrible crunch – a crunch that his own body made. His shoulder was on fire, and then his neck too. Soon his whole body shook.

Stephen gasped. He wanted to cry out, to weep like the day he had stepped on a nail, but he couldn’t manage anything more than a hoarse rasping. He couldn’t breathe. He gasped again and coughed, spraying a fine mist of blood upon the fresh snow. The delicate red glistened in the silver light of the moon.

Stephen coughed up more blood and wheezed, struggling for every breath. His skin had turned as white as the snow around him. He wanted this to be over. He wanted his mother. He tried to call out her name, but he could only cough again. He wanted to stand but couldn’t. His legs were gone, numb, vanished; his arms, his useless wings, cold lead. Even the pain in his neck melted away, just another snowflake. He couldn’t feel anything anymore.

Only his eyes moved. He could just make out Olivia’s crumpled form. She was playing ostrich, burying her head in the snow. Her neck was bent though and her nightgown was getting wet. Mother would be cross with her. It was a new nightgown and Olivia was not to get it dirty.

Stephen heard a crunching in the snow.

It was mother, he just knew it. He was hurt and she was coming to help him. She would be cross with him too, for letting Olivia dirty her nightgown; and for losing track of his brother. Stephen couldn’t see James at all – but then, James had always loved hiding.

A fine pair of boots walked into Stephen’s view, but they were not his mother’s. They were black leather, polished to a mirror shine. Their toes curled upwards and spiraled, and they were bound with thick golden buckles. Though they were not his mother’s boots, Stephen nevertheless recognized them immediately. His eyes widened and he coughed up a storm, trying his hardest to slither away from those boots.

All of his effort was in vain; he could no more slither than he could stand up and walk. His coughing fit raged and threatened to drown him in his own blood. He couldn’t breathe at all anymore, and soon, everything turned black. Only then did his tiny body stop trembling.

The boots, their brilliant sheen marred by a fine bloody mist, remained a while. Only when they were certain Stephen had stopped moving did they turn, crunching away in the night snow.