Students' Work;    By Students,  For Students

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

Students' Work; By Students, For Students

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

The Devious Duo

It was love at first sight. Chuck peered enviously through the window of the house, where a pile of juicy apples gleamed in the sunlight like sparkling jewels. But he could not have them. They belonged to the wealthy farmer, Mr. Johnson, who was well known throughout the neighborhood for having the best apples around. He liked to leave them out in the windows, as if to mock those who were less fortunate. Which, much to Chuck’s dismay, included himself and the other roosters.

“Hey, Chuck!”

Chuck jumped, having lost himself in imaginings of Mr. Johnson’s apples steaming in the kitchen. He glanced behind him. It was Freddy, his best friend and rooster roommate.

Chuck replied with a distracted greeting, his eyes still fixed on the apples.

Freddy followed his gaze to the window. “Look at those apples,” he said sorrowfully, with a trace of longing in his voice.

“If only we could grow apples like those, huh?”

“We don’t have to.” Freddy sighed wistfully. “Or, at least, we didn’t.” He gestured at the thick metal door barring access to the house. Secured to the handle was a huge lock, fatter than Chuck would’ve been, if only he lived in a house with those apples.

“What do you mean?” Chuck asked, intrigued.

“Back in the good old days, I used to run up here and grab a tasty treat every week. It was a sport for me, just a bit of fun after work on Fridays. And the taste of those apples! Unreal.”

“What happened?”

“One day, I saw a guy with a toolbox walking down the driveway to Mr. Johnson’s house. The next, the place was a fortress; I don’t even know how he gets in there himself!” Freddy glared at the lock, ruffling his feathers in frustration.

“The other day I saw some tools lying around the back of the house,” Chuck pondered, “I wonder if we could use those to break in.”

Freddy didn’t hesitate to respond. “Show me.”

Chuck led Freddy around the back of the house to where a pile of old shovels and other appliances leaned against the freshly painted siding. He raised a wing and pointed. “Here.”

Freddy walked over to the pile and picked up a long metal rod, struggling to lift the unwieldy object. A thin, flexible tube led out the back, snaking up the side of the house to a large, rusty tank holding some sort of compressed gas. Scratched warning labels adorned the side like battle scars.

“This should get the job done,” Freddy said ominously. Chuck watched his friend with concern, keeping his distance from the tool in an attempt to avoid any potential danger. He wasn’t sure what was about to happen, but the look on Freddy’s face told him it wasn’t going to be fun, nor particularly safe.

“Could you get that valve for me?” Freddy asked, pointing. Chuck identified a small, worn knob jutting from the top of the tank and flapped his way up to it, perching on a thin metal rung. After a moment’s hesitation he twisted the valve, which stuck for a moment before giving way with a squeak and a hiss of released gas. The tube jumped slightly as the sudden pressure shot down to where Freddy stood.

Suddenly the tool sprang to life with a shrill whistle and unleashed a neon-orange cloud of molten iron into the house’s siding. The once-pristine paint vaporized in a violent flash, and black smoke began billowing into the sky as the siding caught fire. A hole grew in the burning wall, through which they could see the soft light of the living room.

“What in the Kentucky fried fuck is going on?” Chuck screamed in horror, fighting to be heard over the blast of sparks.

“We’re breaking in.” Freddy’s voice was without emotion, determined. He seemed undeterred by the violence surrounding him.

“Do you really think this is a good idea?” Chuck protested, unable to avert his eyes from the white-hot burst obliterating the living room.

“Of course!”

Finally, having recovered from the initial shock, Chuck shut the valve and the screaming sparks slowed to a hiss. Steam drifted from the scorched grass below, mixing with the smoke to form a foul smelling, aerosolized cocktail. The hole, now ringed with glowing red embers, rained molten droplets down onto the debris-littered carpet.

Freddy disappeared through the charred opening in the wall. Chuck watched for a moment, hesitant, but he couldn’t turn back now. As violent as the break-in had been, this was his one chance to finally get the apples he’d been dreaming of.

Chuck flapped down from his perch and darted past the smoldering ruins into the living room. The house smelled of delicious food with a hint of vaporized iron. It was all Chuck could have wished for, except for maybe the beads of cooling metal buried among the carpet fibers, mixed with bits of charcoal from the destroyed wall. He tiptoed through them with as much elegance as his fat rooster body could muster, which was not very much. Freddy was nowhere to be seen.

Following the smell of food, Chuck walked past the pillars of fire now climbing up the curtains and continued into the kitchen. A glorious sight awaited him. Apples, stacked higher than he’d thought possible, glinted in the warm lighting. He climbed onto the counter and picked one off the top, delicately, so as not to disturb the rest of the pile. It was perfect. Smooth as the granite countertop they rested on, red as the most vivid of dreams; they were undeniably the best apples Chuck had ever laid eyes on. He took a bite, and suddenly he was no longer in the burning house, but the clouds; such was the taste of the apple. Sweet juice dripped from his beak and pooled on the floor, but he didn’t stop eating until all that was left was a mere lifeless husk. He dropped the core in satisfaction. The experience had been even better than he ever could have imagined.

Chuck was pulled from his reverie by the crunch of tires on a gravel driveway.

“He’s here!” Freddy’s anxious shout echoed through the empty house. “Grab as many apples as you can! Stuff your pockets! Take everything!”

“I don’t have pockets!” Chuck yelled, but his voice was lost amid the panic. They heard a door click, then creak open.

“Run!” Freddy cried. Chuck dashed for the doorway. Sunlight exploded into his eyes as he dove through the burning portal and back into the outside world. He squinted, tripping over the tool in his mad dash to escape. A glance behind him: through the hole stood a pair of legs—human legs—in soot-covered jeans. He ran, and did not look back.

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