Winged Ones and Other Stories

Winged Ones and Other Stories


1.  Caged Hen

My home world is dark and grey. I am squashed with other women. No men. Their chatters and cries are all I know. It seems like years since the last time I have even seen a man. The apes with rubber feet seem to know the score. They keep their knowledge from us, their language. They do not live here, so they must live in another world. This world must be where the light comes from, and it seems to be them that control it. This world must be where they can run. They trail in a substance on their feet known as ‘mud’ or ‘muck’. They bring us food from their world into ours. I wonder if we could grow food here, if they would stop coming to our world. They wouldn’t.  I know they want our eggs, that’s mostly why they come here. We are their resource. Every now and then, one of us goes missing. It’s usually an older woman, or a girl who can’t lay. Or our young sons.  I don’t know what mud is, but to me, it is free. It’s free to explore, free to breathe cooler air, free to keep my sons. I yearn to one day know what it feels like to have free beneath my feet. But I just know this fake-stone floor. I think it’s all I’ll ever know.


2.  Peacock at Kew Gardens

I have no name but The Peacock. I live in a big garden, with weird domes and stuff. There are lots of chirruping, berry eating birds, flowers and trees, and apes in all shapes and sizes. But there’s nobody here quite like me. What’s that thing you’ve got in your hand? I’ve heard it’s called a camera, it’s for capturing memories? Am I a good memory? I like how it flashes. You stare and smile at me, because my feathers are colourful. You apes are so easily amused. I like that. Now you’ve got a picture of me, you can show me to all of your friends and they’ll think I’m magnificent too. Everyone here thinks I’m great. But, there’s something missing. Maybe, just maybe, if I met someone like me, we could share the spotlight together. Like a King and Queen. Imagine our royal family. But they already have royalty in this town, they don’t need any more. That’s why they keep me by myself, I think. You should be looking at me, keep looking at my tail feathers. Look at me! I’m handsome! Don’t walk away, don’t- never mind. I just wanted somebody to talk to.




3.  Love’s Dead

My wife always says that I work too late. She wants me in bed with her every night, but you know duty calls. I am at the morgue for hours every day, slaving away. It’s a small place, they don’t need many staff. A text from her now- when will you be home? To be honest I don’t know. I can work very late into the night. I don’t want to go to sleep, or roll around the bed with her in my arms. She says I’m frigid, like the corpses I work with five days a week. She wants to reignite the passion in our marriage. I don’t feel it anymore. These cadavers here are better lovers than she is. Love is dead, dear.

Jen Hughes

Jen Hughes is a writer from Ayrshire, Scotland. She has been furiously scribbling ideas and writing elaborate stories since she was seven. She has worked as a school assistant and a support worker for the past year, and will be starting university this month. She'll be studying English Literature and Film & TV Studies. She has been published on various online journals such as the McStorytellers, Oletangy Review, Minus Paper and Pulp Metal Magazine.

If you liked this story, then check out her own website, There you can find an up to date portfolio of her short stories, flash fictions and poems. You can also show your appreciation by giving her a like on Facebook (Dearoctopuswriting), Twitter (@dearoctopus4) or on Tumblr (


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