'Flash!' Winter 2017

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


Originally written for one of India Emerald's Flash Challenges.

Chapter 41 (v.1) - The Last Turkey

Submitted: December 30, 2017

Reads: 29

Comments: 1

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Submitted: December 30, 2017

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The Last Turkey

 

Mrs Hansen says the rumour’s true.”

Which rumour are you talking about, Terri? There have been so many flying around lately, it’s getting hard to keep up with them all.”

Oh, go on, Mom. You know which one.....the Last Turkey is really coming to our town this year. We can go and see it can’t we, Mom. Please!”

Well, we’ll have to see what day it is. But we’ll try. Okay?”

Thanks, Mom!” Terri rushed forward, flung her arms hard around her mother with such force they almost both fell to the floor.

Now you go and sort out the dinners. Just you and me today. Your Dad won’t be back until later.”

Do you think he’ll come and see the Last Turkey too?”

I don’t know, Terri. We’ll see.”

* * * * *

Terri made her way into the preparation area. This was where the portion packs were kept, in a cool-cupboard. It was an easy job to prepare them. All she had to do was peal off the clear covering, add a spoonful of hydration liquid, and pop it in to the micro-heater for two minutes.

There were a variety but to Terri they all seemed to taste the same. But eating was not something that was done for pleasure, just to stay alive.

The portions, whatever they were made from, were supposed to be perfectly balanced to fulfil all nutritional needs. Terri had learnt in school about obesity, starvation, malnutrition from various causes. The portions that were designed for individuals needs had eradicated all that; and as nothing really ‘tasted’, no one was tempted to eat too much.

She automatically took the portions from the micro-heater just as the door opened to say they were heated to optimum temperature, then she called her Mom and they ate their meal in silence.

* * * * *

Two days later, Terri came home from school with more news. “It will be here at the end of the week, Mom. The school is going and all parents are welcome to join us there. Please say you’ll come?”

Of course, Terri. I’ll be there. I spoke to your father though, and he says sorry but he is totally tied up at work right now so you’ll have to make do with me.”

Well, that’s a shame. I thought for once it might be the three of us but I guess I should have known better. Anyway, because of the visit, that’s what we’ve been studying today, turkeys, and I’ve got so much to tell you.

After they had eaten their silent meal, mother and daughter sat side-by-side and looked through Terri’s work-pad pages.

Look at that picture, Mom. Someone must have made that up, or at least exaggerated its features. Nothing could really have looked like that. And then it said that although eaten.....could you imagine eating something like that....Anyway, although eaten all year round it was traditional to eat them on the holidays of ‘Thanksgiving’ and ‘Christmas’.”

“‘Christmas’; that’s like the day we all get to spend together, from when we get up until we go to bed.”

Yes! And do you know what? They used to give each other gifts then, lots of gifts. Not just parents and their children, but friends and other relatives too.”

You know, Terri, I kind of remember something like that from when I was a child, now that you mention it. But it was a long time ago.....before things changed.”

Tell me about it, Mom. Come on.....do you miss it?”

With a shrug her mother said, “I really can’t remember it. I’m sorry, Terri.”

But Terri saw the look of sadness that passed over her mother’s face.

* * * * *

The day before the visit was scheduled, Terri could not keep still. Every year the Last Turkey paid a visit to ten towns. This would be the first time since she had been born, twelve years ago now, that the bird had come anywhere near enough for it to be a possibility for her to go and see it.

She pulled up the picture on her work-pad and studied it. Could it really look anything like that? It was hard to believe. The only birds she had ever seen were the tiny ones that sought shelter around the buildings, and the carrions, those that cleared up the dead and the rubbish. This bird did not look anything like either of them.

* * * * *

It was crowded. Terri and her mother could not get a glimpse of the creature from where they were standing. It was too much; to have the chance to see it and not be able to. Terri grabbed her mothers hand and despite her protests, manoeuvred their way towards the front.

And there it was. The Last Turkey! It was huge, with massive feathers at it’s back. The other feathers laid more flat, the mainly black ones. It made the most peculiar noise but the strangest thing about it was it’s face. It was pink, almost red, with lumpy skin, and the scrawniest neck she had ever seen.

But there was one thing about it that she especially hated. It had something that looked like a flap of skin, dangling down from just above it’s beak. Terri thought back to the picture and it really did not do the creature’s ugliness justice.

She looked into it’s eyes and felt pity though. What must it feel like to be the last of its kind?

Mom, can we go?” Terri was shocked to feel tears forming in her eyes. “I’ve seen it now, the Last Turkey, and I never want to see it again.”

Her mother took her by the hand and led her sobbing daughter away, completely understanding her distress. Empathy, for anything or anyone, could be hard to deal with.

 

(980 words.)


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