Flash Fiction: Peckish
“I don’t try to get out of things. I try my best not to get into things.”
The weasel had dropped by, as he put it, coming on at first by a peristaltic rippling over a basswood’s roots. The roots canopied mirrored water, pooling naturally between a fallen trunk and a low line of moss-grown rock. Despite the little runlet that hugged this and never broke, here along the bank the water was still and clear.
She was pleased, the duck, that her babies could jump in what she would have called safety, at this spot—so convenient—for a first swim. As it turned out, and as her mother would have warned her, the underside of the roots was riddled with weasel holes.
“Oh, I am not especially peckish at the moment.” The weasel seemed to wave her doubts aside. “It’s a fine day, isn’t it? Eh…but I won’t say I haven’t got a taste for snails on a late spring morning. Right over there, on that little shoal, the digging is excellent. You like them yourself.”
“Snails are all right…” she ventured. He drew his paw back, groomed an ear with it, ate something he’d pulled out—a flea, she thought—and gave her a smile, meant to be charming.
He was very quick. He’d been flicking his tail in a complicated way, and now and then he swiveled his head, glancing at the opposite bank, peering into branches above, where they all knew to look, for hawks. And then behind him.
(2018, Stephanie Foster)