This flash is set in the same world of Rider, a YA SFF novella.
The bird man came to see Mama in the evening, bearing supplies we needed. I watched him and his big scrawny pelican land on the little dry patch outside our house. This late in the season, the ground was still parched. And why pelican? Because it just looked like one, from my school textbook.
He brought us news too, of the storms and sand. I shuddered. I won’t want to go to the City.
The giant pelican watched me with its eyes. I hate pelicans. This one had brown fur. Like a dog, like old Rex. This one had bright ruby eyes too. I swear it had opinions about me.
I opened up the boxes and found fresh vegetables and tubers, good at least for a week in our little chiller. My belly growled. I could finally eat Mama’s soups now. Our vegetable garden looked wilted and sad-brown most of the time. No food for a while. I hated that. Then, the bird man came with food.
The bird man kissed Mama on the cheek before leaping onto his pelican. I know they had a name. Quertz. Rhymes with Quartz. They work with the agri-people who plant trees and the people who work at the City. They are definitely not real Earth pelicans. Not with those glider-like wings. I know about gliders too. I read about them in the textbook. In the sky, they look like big planes (also from the textbook).
Mama slipped back into the house, dabbing her eyes with her apron. She could be so weepy. I slid forward and placed my hand on hers. “Mama?”
“I’m fine, Bing.”
Mama didn’t sound convincing, as if she was hiding a stomach ache, just like she did last Mid-Autumn. Ate a spoilt mooncake. Chi huai le du zi. Mama was sick for days. I was so certain she had ruined her stomach. She lied about the pain and went on planting saplings in her garden.
I stared out of the window. It was now turning darker. The inlands grow darker much fast. I began to push the boxes into the kitchen, one by one. I had to help Mama with the washing of tubers. At least, I ate tonight.