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Plumage among the Group

Heirlooming Threat: Chapter 4

By Jesse Terrance DanielsPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Plumage among the Group
Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

“Whoah,” exclaimed Bruce, staring at the newborn chick seated in the center of the group. “Are they always that big?”

“No,” stated Milo plainly, surprised at how large the baby chick had grown already. Milo began to pluck off the small pieces of shell still stuck to the chick’s body.

“I can’t believe we just watched that get born!” announced Fern, perhaps louder than she meant to.

After examining the chick for a bit, Bruce leaned back to take a long drag from the enormous glass bong that Templeton carried all the way here to the highest point in the quarry. Bruce turned his head to exhale the smoke away from the group, taking a moment to observe the scenery – a strangely dense forest of scraggy trees atop small mountains of granite, spattered with decayed machinery. He passed the glass piece over to Templeton, continuing the counter-clockwise rotation.

Everyone was mesmerized by the newborn, understandably so, and barely took their eyes away. Templeton, too, was affixed, keeping his eyes on the fluffy chick. He took his hit, breathing in deep the cannabis smoke and exhaling it in a massive cloud, leaning forward, and aiming it right towards the baby’s beak. Acting fast, Milo quickly leaned forward as well, covering the chick with his upper body and taking the brunt of the smoke.

“What’s a matter with you?!” howled Milo. “She’s only just started breathing. You can’t blow a bunch of smoke at her.”

“Hey, wow, chill out, kid. Maybe you should hit this yourself,” replied Templeton. “It’s just a baby bird. It’s fine.”

“It’s not,” proclaimed Milo. “It’s not fine. Look at the poor thing.” Milo sat back up, revealing that the chick had begun shivering up and down. It looked as though it were dry heaving, trying to get something out of its throat. Milo started to panic, fearing he might lose the baby chick. He leaned forward to caress its spine as gently as he could, hoping to urge out whatever was stuck. Out from the baby’s beak began pouring plumes of thick fog. Chunks of grey and black smoke rose up from the bird, like hiccups. It seemed far more dense smoke came out of the bird than ever went in. Thankfully, the awful spell subsided within moments.

“TonTon, that was too much,” protested Fern. “You shouldn’t’ve done that.”

“Oh, ok, I’m the bad guy,” said Templeton. “Sorry or whatever. It’s fine now. Let’s just go swimming. I’m ready.”

Fern shook her head and sniffed. “Yeah, ok,” she said. “I’m ready too. It’s gotten really hot. I guess the chick is fine now. Sorry, Milo.” Bruce got up to join his friends and signaled for Milo to follow.

“What about all your stuff?” asked Milo. “You’re just leaving it here?”

“Yeah, it’s fine,” said Bruce. “We’re in the middle of the woods. Nobody hardly comes out here.”

“Ok,” replied Milo, still irritated about what Templeton had done. He began to get up, corralling the chick in the sweater, stood, and realized he was feeling very strange. Subtle dizziness came over him, or a feeling of weightlessness, or both. He decided he must need to hydrate, plus his mouth was terribly dry, so he drank from his canteen. Milo began to worry that the smoke must’ve affected him. He felt as though the knot of anxiety that had been living in his stomach was unraveling a bit, while the desperation in his mind seemed to swell.

Templeton and Fern had already made their way into the water while Bruce was tossing aside his shirt and vest to hop in as well. Milo, however, must’ve slowed way down as he had traveled only half the distance they did, letting his eyes glaze over as he stared off at a marigold flower in the distance. He started to feel like he was wasting his time. He should’ve just gotten a ride with someone else at the general store. Someone would’ve come along. Desperation inflated with each loud heartbeat in Milo’s chest. “I have to do something, something bold,” he spoke quietly to himself.

Milo turned around.


About the Creator

Jesse Terrance Daniels

Jesse is the founder of Pied Raven Games, and his first card game, Hibernation, won Best Family Game in 2018. He currently has a book in the process about game design. The book, titled Make Your Own Board Game, will be available 08/2022.

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    Jesse Terrance DanielsWritten by Jesse Terrance Daniels

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