In her favorite preserve animals watched people, not the other way
around. She knew because she was an animal, or rather pretended to be. She went off-trail, through wildflowers and pollen. A special privilege. Usually the day started this way: she counted the humans wending their way along the trail. One, two, three by mid-morning. A glut at noon. Carried lunches, solemn talks unbottled and then bottled again. During lunchtime there were six or seven humans, she reckoned. They walked in packs. Later, though, the park cleared out. The trees whisked at the upper atmosphere and the air smelled of candles.

Once she saw two rare humans walking at dusk. Their mouths moved, clouds of air escaped their lips. They reminded her of the merry snorting of pack animals. Just as they rounded the corner, a magical buck, six feet tall, peered out of the foliage at them. A doe came, too, to solemnly watch. She was a perfect match for the buck. The people did not notice them and talked on. The eyes of the buck grew dark and large. The doe’s expression was fey, mystical, and knowing.

They were quite a sight, the two animals reigning silently over their kingdom.


Heather Sager writes fiction in all sizes, but always returns to flash. She also writes poetry. Recent works appear in Fourth & Sycamore, Bear Review, NEAT, Jet Fuel Review, and Minetta Review. She lives in Illinois.