Nest of Bones
The long low slung rooms under the eaves meander away. It is a maze up here of interconnected spaces hidden away from the house’s inhabitants. I breath in the stagnant air, finger trace patterns in the half century old dust which smothers every surface. Sunlight streams in, fighting past the grime on the windowpanes. In its beams I watch dust motes dance. All is still.
A shadow flits by the right hand side window, I jump. Another follows, swooping under the eaves. ‘Birds. Of course.’ I breathe out. They’ll have a nest under there I decide.
Looking away towards the huge metal trunks, I hear a CRACK! The tinkling of broken glass makes me turn around.
The window is now crazily shattered, with the shards dripping down and there lying on the floorboards a brown feathery ball. Despoiled. The bird’s blood spatters the dust. It is an obscene sprinkling of red. Its wings are tattered.
The air in the room rushes out through the newly made hole as if the room’s soul is escaping. Both repulsed but compelled to tidy up, I inch towards the bird. It twitches and I yelp, leaping back into a chest and hitting my back.
A fly lands on the bird’s glassy eye. It does not blink. Sickened I turn away. In the dead ashy fireplace a nest lies. A tangle of dried twigs and dead grasses intricately interwoven. It must have fallen down the chimney.
Inside it nestle delicate white bones. Cuddled up together. I hold them in the palm of my hand. Behind me I hear thump after thump becoming more frantic. Turning I see bird after bird, sparrow, blackbird and a largish crow fly directly into the attic windows.
Some of the birds succeed in breaching the hole in the glass; others reel away in. I cower behind a wardrobe, terrified at this avian onslaught.
The birds that make it through flap around, drunkenly. Then they land, often lying on their sides. In desperation I fling the nest of bones in their direction. I don’t know why I do that.
A sparrow picks up one of the bones in its beak, a wren picks up another. A chaffinch another. A raven carries the skull. Back they fly out of the broken attic window with their bone booty. Leaving in their wake, broken glass, a few feathers and me, huddled terrified behind a horsehair settee.