By Ron Van Sweringen

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 forty-five 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.


Ron Van Sweringen was born in Hampton, Virginia, but now resides in Vero Beach, Florida, with his friend Punk, a Jack Russell mix. Well known as both a writer and painter, Ron is the creator of ASTROISM, the art of airborne painting. You can find his books listed on Amazon.