Mistaken Identity | Flash Fiction

Penguin illustration - "Mistaken Identity" flash fiction

They tell me I’m a penguin just like them. But I know I’m different.

For a start, I hate the cold. And I despise fish, which is about the only sustenance one can get around these parts. I’m a useless swimmer, too, which isn’t exactly ideal when, like I say, it’s fish, fish, fish on the menu.

The only thing about me that’s even a little bit like a penguin is the fact that I’m black and white. And I think, really, that’s where the confusion comes in. When you think of black and white creatures in Antarctica, you think penguin, or you think killer whale. And I’m far too little – and certainly not bloodthirsty enough – to be an killer whale. So if I live in Antarctica and I’m black and white and I’m not an killer whale, it stands to reason that I must be a penguin, right?

Wrong. I’m a panda.

I’ve known in my head and my heart from the moment I popped out of my shell that I was panda. I was simply born in the wrong place. But Mum and Dad and my aunts and uncles and everyone else who likes to stick their oar in insists that it’s not the case.

So I’m going to prove them wrong. A boat turned up a few hours ago and there are humans on it. They look like they know a thing or two about animals. I’m sure they’ll be able to confirm to me my species, and perhaps after that they’ll take me back to my own kind, wherever in the world that may be. I do hope it’s warm there.

This is it. This is where the truth of my identity is revealed. It’s where my proper life truly begins. All I have to do is hop onto this boat and I’ll become everything I’ve ever believed I am.

Wish me luck.

Penguin jumping into boat gif

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition and published her first book, 'Merry Bloody Christmas: A Short Story Collection'. You can often find her hanging out on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott), or hibernating on her sofa with a book and a very large glass of gin.

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