Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Of Flesh and Feathers by L.M. Pierce

Release date: July 14, 2020
Subgenre: Post-apocalytic, Animal stories

About Of Flesh and Feathers


"A modern Watership Down meets The Walking Dead - but with a lot more feathers."

A foul wind blows through the chicken coop. The flock's caretaker no longer comes to collect Chickory's eggs or bring her feed, and the stench of death is everywhere. Her friend Fayne is haunted by visions of danger, and by a prophecy of safety beyond the farthest horizon a chicken has ever known. With the help of their faithful farm dog, Chickory must convince her flock to follow her into a frightening world of disease and predators, both natural... and unnatural.

Their survival may depend on fateful premonitions, but in order to save the world of humans and birds, Chickory must discover the truth behind the prophecy and the sickness that turned their keepers into killers.

From the mind that brought you Trans Liberty Riot Brigade, L.M. Pierce presents:
Of Flesh and Feathers




The Beginning

"We are brought to the light by Piasa's grace;
All creatures of the world begin as small, naked chicks,
And we all face death the moment life begins."

- Tales of Piasa, for Chicks and Hatchlings

The walls of the chicken coop obscured all hint of sunrise, except for the square of light where the ramp led down into the small yard. The caked straw and long accumulated droppings burned Chickory’s eyes, and her wind pouch ached with every breath. Outside, the flock squabbled and fought over early worms.
She had watched them rise, watched as they shoved through the small entrance like a squirming mass of grubs. What they hurried for, she didn’t know. The tender new season grass was gone. Even the spicy ants with sharp angular mouths were gone. The flock had stalked them back to the nest and once the juicy queen had been dug up, no more had appeared.
Every sunrise they hurried into the yard, even though their caretaker wouldn’t be there to greet them with a sprinkle of corn or wheat or knobby vegetables. Their reliable, frizzy-headed Hum, Lady, had gone inside the blue house and never returned. Sometimes that happened—Hums, like all living creatures of Piasa’s world, could die, would die. And Lady wasn’t the only one. Chickory fought against the memory but it dripped through like honey in the sun season. The Hum child from the neighbor’s farm was slumped against the back fence, an arm draped over the lowest rail as his body returned to the soil. His flesh squirmed with flies and squishy white bugs, but an unusually terrible smell emanated from every inch of his decomposed body. The smell of his sickness had deterred most creatures from eating his flesh. Even the sky birds avoided the feast of insects that didn’t fuss over a diseased home.
No, she really didn’t see the point in getting up at all.
“What are you doing in here?” Rosie’s brilliant red feathers looked black as she stood in the shadow of the entryway. 
“Resting? ‘A bird at rest is an easy meal’ and you’ve been resting for many sunrises,” Rosie hissed. She had returned to her clutch of perfectly domed brown eggs after a brief journey for water and whatever food she might have found. It was time to nest—and hens nested alone.
“I won’t bother you.”
“You’re bothering me now! Get out, get out, your smell makes me sick.” Rosie hopped to where Chickory huddled on the bottom roost and snapped her comb. The wrinkled red flesh nearly tore and Chickory scurried away from her.
“Fine. I’m leaving,” Chickory said and stalked out the entrance and into the full light of the day.
She blinked and squinted. Morning mist cloaked the yard. Dark shapes moved across the muted landscape and the pink of the sky, coupled with the haze, made it feel like a dream or a chickhood memory.
However, beneath the dreamlike appearance, the yard had reverted to wilderness. Lady’s once careful attention to the plants and creatures she cared for had almost faded. The overgrown and lopsided hedges around the house soaked up slabs of sunshine, and tall flourishing field grass spread across the front like misplaced whiskers. The yard around the coop, once lush with green, was now patchy with dry grass and bald spots of soil. Hills of decayed leaves, left over from the cold season, tangled in the fence surrounding the main yard, and knobby twists of nut trees cast long shadows over the pebbled entrance.




About L.M. Pierce: 

 Music to Lindsay’s ears. She is an eclectic liberal box of sparks. Friends call her a golden retriever. She is a lover of the new and the old, of asking questions and contemplating possibilities. In addition to the making of words, she is a mental health therapist, anti-oppression trainer, and queer AF.
She lives with her family, fur babies, and chickens in Olympia, Washington.


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