The Peacock Garden

Lawrence pushed against the rusty iron gate, straining to put his full weight against it.  It moved slowly but silently, Lawrence had been keeping the hinges oiled for several weeks.  It reached the half-way point and its centre of gravity changed, and it started gaining speed.  Lawrence let go, he knew he had no hope of stopping it, and it struck the brick wall with a brash clang.

In the walled garden beyond, two peacocks looked up startled, and one fanned its tail feathers out and jabbed angrily at the air.  Tiny, beady eyes glinted, filled with malice.  Between them, unmoved by the disturbance, was a young man facing away from the gate.  He had shoulder-length hair, dyed green, that hung loose around his neck and was wearing warm clothes and a pair of dark, knee-high boots.

The peacock with the fanned tail feathers stretched its neck and called plaintively, sounding sorrowful to Lawrence.  The other peacock strutted protectively in front of the young man already in the garden, its blue neck feathers shimmering in the afternoon sunlight.

Lawrence walked through the gateway into the garden.  He made no sound walking on the soft summer grass, but the young man straightened up as soon as Lawrence stepped beyond the boundary marked by the gate, and then, quick as a flash raced off across the garden to the opposite wall.

He leapt at the wall, and somehow his fingers just caught the top of it.  His feet bounced on the wall, and the momentum pushed him up letting him get both palms flat on the top of the wall, and then his hips flexed, his legs rose gracefully over his head, and for a moment he held a handstand on the top line of bricks.  Then his feet dipped back over his head and he disappeared over the other side of the wall.

Lawrence found he was standing still with his mouth open.  He closed it, and looked down at his hand, wishing again that he had two hands instead of a hand and a stump that finished just after his elbow.  Then his moment of self-pity dissipated into a flush of anger.  On the grass, just where the man had been stood, lay the body of a peacock.

The End

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