Birds (Festive Flash Fiction)

The crow hopped down the roof. Lucas took aim and fired. He missed and the crow took clumsily to the air. Its shadow traversed the roof before it too disappeared. It was Christmas day and the horizon was sharp with cold. Since the accident, Lucas had only left his seat by the window to collect the bodies of those he hadn’t missed.

Lucas put down the air rifle and closed the window. He was consumed with something more permanent than the occasional tug of guilt in his gut. He recognised it as revenge. There was nothing more that he could have done that day, but things were different now. The images entered his head again: her finger tips stretching towards him and then the silence as she slipped beneath the surface.

It had meant to be a nice time; a chance for them to escape the claustrophobia of their jobs and feel Christmassy. He had even hidden the bread so they had an excuse to go to the park and feed it to the ducks.

The lake had been frozen and the ducks nowhere to be seen. But of course she saw it; the only bird in the whole park. The ice had begun to give on her fourth step, cracking on the sixth. The bird remained motionless on the ice as Lucas dragged her body up the muddy bank.

The table was set for two. Lucas lifted the tinfoil and began to carve the first of the twenty-six birds.