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Rites -- FWG Flash Fiction for 5/22/2021

You may have noticed that I didn't post an entry last week. I wrote one, but decided not to post it publicly. I was in a dark place, and I didn't want to taint this joyful space with my temporary bleakness. Things are looking up now, though, so we're back on track. This week's entry, "Rites" is inspired by this prompt:



pixabay.com/photos/bird-skull-skull-creepy-valravn-4433244


And here it is:



Rites



They took Kenny on his way home from the library. The world went dark and quiet as the hood enveloped his head and headphones were clamped on his ears. Instead of the wind-blown rustle of leaves, his ears were assaulted by strange squeaks and scratching chitters that sounded like dolphins arguing with squirrels. He felt the sharp prick of talons dig into his wrists and drag him to the cold ground. Inside the hood, Kenny drew breath to call out, but a chemical smell burned his lungs and his eyes grew heavy and closed.

He awoke with hands and feet bound to a metal chair in the center of a darkened room. The flickering red glow of a single torch lit a small circle of the rough stone floor around his chair. Although he was free of his hood, headphones still covered his ears.


Movement in the shadows before him drew his attention and panic gripped his heart when the hideous creature stepped into the light.Huge eyes set above a terrifyingly sharp bird's beak bore into Kenny's soul. A plume of inky black feathers spouted from its otherwise bald pate. The monster wore a uniform jacket and stood for a moment with its arms drawn behind its back.

With a step further into the light, it extended its taloned hands toward Kenny, opened its beak, and shrieked. Kenny's bladder let loose. As more of the chittering squeaks and scratches issued from its mouth, a stilted translation issued from the headphones.

"Kenneth Dubois, you have been chosen, after much careful deliberation, to be granted membership…in the Tappa Kegga Dei fraternity!"

Cheers erupted as the monster reached up with a taloned glove and pulled off his mask.

"And your first job as a pledge is to clean up your mess."

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