In the park is a man-made pond, an oasis of green, a chubby girl around ten, but still no trees. The girl wears pink jeans, there are stains on her knees. Her hair is long, dark, and tangled, but beneath the sun it shines red like iridescent blood.
She lays her body over stones and catches tadpoles in an old Walmart bag. A man with a cane stands behind her. He wears a blue mask because it is May of COVID-19.
“Can’t save ‘em all,” he says and turns his head towards an older girl smoking Newports beyond the pond. She is too skinny and her face is full of sores, but her hair stills shines beneath the sun.
Outside the park – chain-link fences, trailers, plastic flamingos, rusty RVs, a ten-foot-tall alien waving from a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot. In the power lines above, a murder of crows watches over it all.
One crow leaps from the sky. He dives below. He lands by the girl on the stones. The crow bows his head, the girl holds her breath. The crow dips his head below the surface, opens his mouth, his beak catching tadpoles like a plastic bag.
The girl swoops in, tells the old man, she’ll save all she can!
She scowls at the crow’s dipped head, but when he emerges in the air, hops from water to stone, and bows his head to clean his dirty wing, she notices the feathers beneath that wing, the way they still shine, an iridescent green.
Flash Fiction by E. Alexandra
E. Alexandra is a psychologist in New Mexico. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in FLARE: The Flagler Review, unstamatic, Cathexis Northwest Press, 5×5, WinglessDreamer, Forbidden Peak Press, and others. She is working on a collection of short stories and a novella. Follow her on instagram @ twaggamyster.