The Feathered Friend by Scott Wilson

Natasha first got the pillow when she was six. 

It wasn’t a gift or a hand me down, she simply needed a new pillow, so she was bought one. She preferred feather pillows as she found them soft, even if they did seem to leak the occasional feather. Her new pillow would soon become her favourite as it began to smell of her Dad. He would prop himself up on the pillow every night as he read her a bedtime story. Everybody has their own scent and his was mostly of engine oil and Brute. Pillowcases changed but the pillow stayed the same, soaking up smells, as well as sweat, dribbles and coughs. 

Her Dad had never missed a bedtime story until one Friday night when she was ten when he never came home. Her Dad had been walking back from the Auto-parts garage he owned when a drunk driver had mounted the curb and her Dad. 

The Pillow had soaked up a lot of tears over the next few months what with a funeral and a house move, but the pillow had become something of a treasure to Natasha even if she didn’t know it. She would cuddle it every night (dolls and teddies never got a second look) and she would breathe in her fathers smell as she began to sleep. Some kids would have a comfort blanket or a toy, Natasha had her pillow. 

There would be more years with tears in her teens, mostly about boys or bullies, but her pillow was always there waiting for her, ready to comfort her like a secret friend. Mum had given up trying to replace it with a new one. The pillow's sack or skin had been stained with many fluids over the years and it had become a dirty brown that looked like leather. 

More years went by and the pillow began to travel, it moved with Natasha as she went from University to a small flat and then a moderate house. She had the pillow and the pillow had her. For something, whether it was will or the mixture of toxins had made the pillow want her just as much, like a small kitten waiting for her to come home. It would feast on her fluids as she slept, soaking in her sweat and drool. Occasionally there would be other people in her bed, but the pillow didn’t mind as Natasha would produce more sweat and the other would be gone the next day. 

Then one day a man started to stay more frequently and then he was there all the time. The pillow didn’t mind this too much at first, as long as he stayed to his own pillow. More fluids fed the pillow as the years went by, now there was a small person who would sometimes get in the bed with them. The pillow didn’t like this at all for it now felt that it was no longer her favourite, like a forgotten child and it would feed off her grudgingly. 

Then one cold night the man had laid close to Natasha, with her back against his chest. He was inches away from the pillow as its corner poked out from the pillowcase. It dared the man to come closer, it willed him to and then as the night went on… he did. 

The pillow was able to move slightly whether from the crusty feathers inside or the hard dry cotton of its case and it put its open corner like a phallus into the man’s mouth where it began to pump its filth down his throat. 

He opened his eyes wide in alarm choking as he rolled on to his back coughing and fighting for breath. Natasha was up too, trying to help him and the pillow stayed where it was, warm and ready to be comforting. 

In those next few weeks there had been another funeral and more bedroom tears as she slept alone. The pillow was number one again or at least it thought so as it felt the child climb in the bed in the dark and snuggle up to its Mum. 

The pillow began to move. 

Published in Issue #18

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