Iris set out a shallow pan of red paint. Red peacock footprints stepped across her front, curved ivy- edged pathway. The neighborhood children followed the flock. The peacocks were as exotic and curious as the llamas that had wintered there. The fowl multiplied and molted. Children plucked fallen iridescent blue-green peacock plumes from the ground. Neighbors collected the talismans. Iris arranged the peacock silks in feather bouquets from neighborhood barn owls, hawks, and chickens.
Years later, the flock disappeared, except one peacock. Days before, a strange, unshaven man came to the street and asked Iris about the peacocks. There was much talk among the neighbors. Without the peafowl, the scorpion population increased. Iris’ hand burned and numbed after being stung. She and other neighbors watched for scorpions everywhere: the ceilings, while handling clothes, or slipping into shoes.
The lone peacock preened his plumes. He stared at object of his desire and shimmered his eye-spotted feathers. He courted cats, rosebushes, and dented garbage cans. For months, the peacock hung out with a neighbor’s chickens, and they fell under his hypnotic spell.
Feeding her cats, Iris heard a loud, piercing scream that electrified her. It sounded like something out of a black and white Vincent Price movie. In a flush of feathers, the oddest bird teetered on her chain link fence, watching her with a cold, unflinching eye.
Alexandra Isacson is a graduate of Arizona State who lives and works in the Phoenix area. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Grey Sparrow Journal, PANK, Right Hand Pointing, DOGZPLOT, Emprise Review, and elsewhere. Visit her at alexandraisacson.com.