Initially submitted to the ever-incredible contest venue: Flash! Friday. The element for the week was “theme: defeat” and the picture prompt:
And here is what I came up with:
“A Taste of Freedom”
I chanced across the bird while foraging at the Old Coast. It roosted on an exposed concrete slab. Its hooked beak drooped in sleep. My stomach did cartwheels as I fumbled with my sling. Our sector hadn’t seen fresh poultry in years.
I was just about to bean the bird when it blinked open an amber eye and very clearly said, “Are you free?”
Huh. I hadn’t encountered many live animals beyond roaches, but I was pretty sure they couldn’t talk.
“Are you free?” it asked again, fanning bedraggled wings.
“Sure.” Our sector had leisure time one day a week—if you could call foraging in the Outbounds leisure.
It hopped toward me through sludge.
“I used to gyre about her beacon!” he wailed. “We triumphed over tyranny!”
Nothing triumphs over tyranny, I thought. Not if you want to eat.
“We were too dazzled by our victories to notice the tyranny we perpetuated.”
Parrots, yes, I remember from the kiddie clips. They could talk. But weren’t they green?
“See?” It fretted at the rubble. “Her entreaty has eroded into a command.”
I stooped to see what it was so upset about. Words carved into stone: Give me.
My stomach rumbled. I let fly.
Freedom, for all its brevity, was delicious.