Firebirds by Marita O’Connor [From Queer Sci-Fi’s Flash Fiction Anthology Migration]


By Marita O’Connor


I straightened the corner of the tablecloth and grinned as my phone rang. “Abby… You’re late.” I teased.

She chuckled. “Why? Is today important or something?”


“Emma, relax. I’m on my way now. They held us over. Some glitch in the atmosphere. I’ll be there soon.”

“Ok, love.” I beamed. “Just wait till you see!”

“Ems… you went fancy, didn’t you?”

I fiddled nervously with my lace skirt. “…No…”

She chuckled. “I love you, goofball. I’ll —-” Nothing but static.


The jazz on the kitchen radio changed to a frantic announcer with intermittent static. “GET INSIDE! FOR –LOVE OF —ANYONE –STILL HEAR ME! —FIREBIRDS– COMING! — NOT — YEAR — NOW! —INSIDE! —–”

“Oh, God! Abby! Did you hear that!? The firebird migration’s a year early! I’ll bet that was your glitch!” Nothing. “Abs!” I looked outside and could already see the outline of the massive alien ‘birds’, electricity arcing between them. It would be beautiful, if it wasn’t deadly. “Why only 9 years this time?” I muttered.

I saw Abby’s car turn onto the street. She didn’t see the firebirds! I ran out on the deck, waving my arms. She smiled, then looked confused. “ABBY! Hurry!”

“Em, what’s wrong?!” She was taking too long getting out of the car.

“FIREBIRDS!” I screamed. The arcs were decimating cars and streetlamps. She bolted, abandoning her things, to run faster.

As she reached the door, I grabbed her shoulders and yanked her inside, our combined momentum throwing us in a heap on the floor. As I kicked the stone door shut, the energy blew out the window beside us.

“That… was close.” Abby panted.

I touched her face. “Happy Anniversary.” I breathed.

“Maybe I’ll cancel the firebirds for our 11th, hmm?” She grinned.


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