• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 05
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In a flap

I didn’t want to be one of those women - twittery and flappy, but jeez, the bloody starling was still breathing, its tiny chest moving up and down. Hanky had punctured something, her feline teeth tearing through bird flesh like it was tissue. I rang Gary and said it was an emergency, well, not exactly an emergency, but yeah, it was actually, and could he get home early. And then, I know this was bad, I shut the lounge door and went upstairs, leaving Hanky and the dying bird together, telling myself I was letting nature take its course, and hoping I wouldn’t reopen the door to a room full of feathers and meat.

“Be careful with it, Gaz,” I instructed, and he assured me he would. “Bury it, please, ” I asked. “Make sure it’s properly dead though Poor thing .”

He was outside for about ten minutes, told me it was dealt with, and I was so grateful. One of those moments I felt lucky to have him in my life. The starling was only the first though - over the next couple of days it seemed Hanky had declared war. A wee tit panic hopped around the lounge before keeling over. I leant against a wall, clawing at my own hands, feeling like a Victorian woman needing smelling salts. When Gary got home we talked about the need to keep the back door closed.

Hanky batted one bird around the patio for ages as I watched from indoors, wincing as her claws hooked into flesh. Another had a broken leg that it dragged behind as it tried to escape.

“Where are you burying all these birds? ” I asked Gary.
“You don’t need to worry about that. ”


In a flap

Funny to feel like a girl, like I had a man doing men’s work for me. Curiously pleasant I baked a pie - from scratch. Told Gaz it had four and twenty blackbirds in it. I washed his shirts and thought I might even iron them instead of leave them for him to do. As I pegged them out, watching them fill with air and flutter on the breeze, I looked around for signs of graves. I couldn’t see any disturbed earth, no visible evidence that Hanky had turned my garden into a cemetery. The grass was too long, that kind of lush green that tickled my legs and made me think ants were marching up me. Time to mow. The shed door gave easily, and that’s when I saw the rotting birds, piled one on top of the other, squashed into a dank corner. All sorts of disgusting insects swarmed over them, feasting.

I got rid of the cat and told Gary to fly the nest, find somewhere else to perch. Now I’ve got myself a big bird table out the back and I put seed down everyday in an act of contrition. I think they’ve forgiven me, although there’s one crow who gives me the eye.