National Geographic Special

by Karen Schauber


Lacklustre afternoon skies erupt into crimson with an injection of his rage. We can feel it coming, black and blue clouds moving in overhead, and so we huddle together waiting for the explosion—My body trembling in anticipation of the blows. Max bolting under the table when we hear the door slam open—But they never come.

Hyperventilating with fear, I suck in air, inflating my gular pouch and ballooning my chest cavity. My arms float up spreading out two meters in length. —He doesn’t dare touch me.

He hangs back at the other end of the room tamping down his haystack hair. “You look like a damn Bustard, Georgia!”

I bellow a smart retort and flap my wings. I feel like taking chances.

Max scampers out of hiding and sidles up against my leg, echoing my sentiment with a low growl.

Things sure are different after that.

The following morning, I return to the library and check-out more National Geographic magazines on “Animals Species and their Unique Adaptations”.


Karen Schauber is a Flash Fiction writer obsessed with the form. Her work appears in 45 international literary magazines and anthologies, including Brilliant Flash Fiction, Bending Genres, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, and New Flash Fiction Review. ‘The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings’ (Heritage House, 2019), celebrating the Canadian modernist landscape painters, is her first editorial/curatorial flash fiction anthology. Schauber runs ‘Vancouver Flash Fiction’, a flash fiction Resource Hub and Critique Circle, and in her spare time, is a seasoned Family Therapist. A native of Montreal, she has called Vancouver home for the past three decades.


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