by Ron Van Sweringen
We continue to feature some mother related short stories in honor of Mother’s Day–this was has just a bit of a mystery twist to it.
The creature was magnificent, its blue and green plumage spread out in the large glass case resting on a rosewood pedestal in the center of the library. Every time Elizabeth Chalmers looked at it she felt claustrophobic. How can it breath in there she thought, knowing full well the bird was dead and stuffed seemed to make no difference. She still wanted to smash the glass and set if free. They had no right to do this to you, or to me.
“Don’t be foolish Elizabeth,” Agatha Chalmers said, twisting a ruby ring around her enlarge knuckle. “Your grandfather shot that peacock and won a silver cup for it. Why on earth should we dispose of it?”
“Because that was a hundred years ago, mother,” Elizabeth replied, her blue eyes reflecting the flames in the hearth before her. “The poor thing has suffered long enough. Let’s set it free.”
A look of complete bewilderment clouded the old woman’s face as she leaned toward the fire and a better look at her daughter. “You’re speaking of that bird as if it were alive, Elizabeth. If I didn’t know better, I would think you were demented.”
“Perhaps I am,” Elizabeth murmured as if she were miles away.
“I forbid you to ever say such a thing again,” the old woman’s voice rang out in the elegant room. “No such scandal has ever been connected with the Chalmers name. You will do as you’re told. I have given you everything for 45 years. You are an ungrateful daughter to torment me so in my old age.”
“Forgive me mother,” Elizabeth said, kneeling beside her mother’s chair. “You have been generous to me and I promise to show my appreciation.”
An hour later the fire had died to glowing red coals casting strange shadows over the room. Elizabeth ignored her mother’s cries coming from inside the glass case. She smiled at the trail of green and blue feathers flowing at her side through the library door as she turned off the lamp.
You can find more of Ron’s short stories, and our other Mother’s Day stories, here in KRL’s Terrific Tales section.