Blue Peacockidons, A. J. Trahan
This was the last afternoon the brothers would spend together. Their adult plumage was almost completely grown in: just a few gray-green plumes hung from frames becoming sleek and iridescent with vibrant blues that almost shone in the sunlight.
The following day, the older one snapped at the younger. He whistled a territorial song—a tune that dipped low, then rose to end in three trill and angry notes—spread his arms and shook his great blue tail, fanning his feathers, trying to look as big and threatening as he could.
The younger one was confused, not ready to be chased away. He cocked his head and chirped, then dodged his older brother’s kicks. He moved a few paces away, and the brother glared at him, sang “lu-ohn-a-ree-ee-ee” again. The younger one paced, keeping a few body-lengths between them, but edged too near, and his older brother was jumping again, lashing out with long, skinny, barb-tipped legs, mouth wide, feathers puffed. They croaked and chittered and rolled through the undergrowth, as if being tossed by the wind, one brother trying to climb on his sibling, the other spinning to stay out from under him.
After this second attack, the younger one ran away—his brother scolding a few more territorial announcements behind him—and stopped only when he could no longer hear his brother. He inspected a scratch he’d received in the fight. Blood beaded between plumes. After nursing it, he looked around. The forest seemed larger than before.