It wasn’t until our first pillow fight I realized that “down” meant “duck.” But it was too late. The sack of feathers was already sailing toward my head, the force of its momentum increased by Kyle’s hurtling arms which knocked me clean off the bed as the pillow tore open. The bedroom bloomed with feathers, drifting through the air, settling in swarthy pale piles, kicking up when I kicked out—a flat out, drop-kick to the already opened pillow in Kyle’s outstretched arms, landing the next pile of feathers into his open mouth, into the whorls of his curly red hair, stuck to the fleece of his pajamas, his bed, his rug, his teddy bear, his Legos space station, his model airplane, his Boy Scout patch sash, his plastic cup of water. Undeterred, he emptied what was left on my head and the feathers flew upward, the ghosts of their former owners unleashed in the flash-lit night, as the quacks of ducks and geese, egrets and other migrators surfaced on the sonic horizon of the night sky, and grew in terrifying numbers as the ripe moon glow shone on the wings of a dozen, then a hundred, then a thousand fowl perched on the pine tree outside Kyle’s room, pecking at his window, wanting in. And as their honks grew louder, and closer, it seemed the only way to stop them was to toss each feather, handful by handful, back into the pillow sack. When the pillow was full, Kyle ran downstairs and threw it onto the side yard lawn, and our necks craned skyward as a great swan swooped, clutched the sack in its beak, and flew off, leading the swarm of ducks and geese, into the light of the now sinking moon.
Erica Plouffe Lazure‘s flash fiction collection, Heard Around Town, won the 2014 Arcadia Fiction Chapbook Prize and was published in July 2015. Another chapbook, Dry Dock, by Red Bird Press, was also published in 2015. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Greensboro Review, Meridian, American Short Fiction, The Journal of Micro Literature, The Southeast Review, Fiction Southeast, Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine (UK), Vestal Review, National Flash Fiction Day Anthology (UK), Litro (UK), and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Exeter, NH and can be found online at ericaplouffelazure.com.