Hydra File System (HFS) is an experimental framework for constructing parallel and distributed filesystems. While parallel and distributed applications requiring scalable and flexible access to storage and retrieval are becoming more commonplace, parallel and distributed filesystems remain difficult to deploy easily and configure for different needs. HFS aims to be different by being true to the tradition of high-performance computing while employing modern design patterns to allow various policies to be configured on a per instance basis (e.g. storage, communication, security, and indexing schemes). We describe a working prototype (available for public download) that has been implemented in the Python programming language.