The bottoms of the little creature’s feet were rough, as if they were covered in the tips of hazelnut shells. This was a thing it didn’t much like about itself. If it could have gotten some kind of procedure to fix its feet—surgery, maybe, or even something more temporary like a medical pedicure—it would have done it, but it wasn’t sure that it had time or money and besides, it didn’t even know if such a thing existed. Sometimes, just as it was about to fall asleep, the creature would feel the skin on the soles of its feet catch against the smoothness of its bed sheets (especially if the sheets had just been laundered), and it would wince.
Today, the creature was hurrying to work. As it scurried down the sidewalk, the petals on its back fluttered in the wind. The delicate, podlike lashes around its wide eyes blinked, keeping the debris of the city out of its face. The creature was carrying a stack of important documents. It wore a backpack and a satchel and was almost indistinguishable underneath it all—it must have looked, to passersby, like a worried fire hydrant. It didn’t wear much of anything, being covered in bright, yellow feathers (unlike poor, naked humans) but it wore a pair of dress shoes to the office—not because of its horny soles, but because it was afraid of the condensed exhaust and glass dust on the streets around its place of business. These dress shoes protruded from the bottom of the moving stack of bags, papers, and glittery fluff that was the little creature.
Rounding a corner, the creature caught a man staring at it. It was aware of its unusual appearance—how could it not be—but sometimes, it also caught people staring deeply into its eyes, which were a swirling, flaming mash of reds, like the palette of an indecisive stop sign. When the creature looked deeply into another person’s eyes, it could see an awe and an uneasiness there that made it think that it might be more powerful than it itself suspected. It wondered what this power could do. Sometimes it felt that, being an extraordinary creature, it should be trying to do more interesting things with its life. It knew, at the very least, that it should be asking for a raise.
The creature was so distracted by the staring man and its own racing thoughts that it didn’t see the bicycle coming around the corner. It was knocked onto its back, violently. Its papers were scattered through the intersection. As it went flying inconveniently through the air, it heard a small child on the sidewalk yell, “Mommy, what is it?” As it landed, it heard the cyclist yell, “Oh shit!” It could see the reds of its own eyes. It hoped to God it didn’t die before it had the chance to do something about its feet.
word “More Interesting Things,” by Charlotte Joyce Kidd
colour, “Lemon Bear,” by Mi Ju