"Feathers" by Erinna Mettler
It happened in an instant. Before anyone had time to understand. Before they even had time to wonder why. They should have seen the signs, the stray white fluffs floating on the breeze, the oppressive pre-snowfall atmosphere, an indefinable shift - in everything.
But they didn’t see the signs. Wars still raged, children were still crying and rich men grew richer still. In short, mankind had no idea that up in the heavens their guardian angels were depressed. Like us, the angels had watched them for millennia, and last Tuesday, realizing that man’s apathy, greed and cruelty were inherent, they simultaneously shed every single one of their feathers.
In seconds, humanity drowned under fifty feet of luminescent down. People were engulfed where they stood, mouths and noses clogged with tickling suffocating barbules, skins pierced by pointed calamus. Every soul died instantly.
The feathers didn’t just cover the earth with seraphic snow but penetrated solid structures, filling rooms within rooms, as if no ceilings existed. Planes fell from the skies, their impacted carcasses landing softly on downy runways, though the passengers were by then beyond caring. There was no escape underground either, subway trains bulged like discarded toothpaste tubes; where-ever people were feathers fell, and so, there were no longer people.
The seas turned to mulch, boats so filled with white they sank to the ocean bed. Volcanoes fizzled to paste; the volume of fluff far outweighing the molten interior of the planet. Seen from space, the earth was no longer a bright blue and green jigsaw but a snowball, diamond fuzzy in the sun’s glare.
The angels wept, as helpless and shivering as plucked chickens, and our leader, who lost his feathers an eternity ago, watched it all on Sky News and laughed till he combusted. We have won. Now what?
FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words). So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.