Feathers Added£2.49
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(A short story of 3468 words)



by L J Shaughnessy

The story is about urban alienation and redemption and focuses on a despondent young woman whose life changes following a freak zoological event.

You’re up early?

Robert’s voice broke behind her against the demi-silence of a city dawn. Sarah watched his reflection in the window, his big frame moving silent through the apartment. I couldn’t sleep, she replied without turning around.

The lights were still off, she liked it that way. And although the sun was up, the cool blue light of breaking day/fading night remained predominant. The tall buildings adjacent, and the masses of cloud dragging their slow veils of rain over the streets below, kept the more garish light at bay.

Her eyes were fixed on the bird’s nest which clung desperate to a nook below the roof of the building opposite. Tiny beaks chattered out of it constantly while their parents moved in a seemingly constant cycle, falling from the nest into the concrete canyon below, wings and tails pivoting to its strange winds. Then they’d return a short while later – scrappy looking things hanging from their beaks. And as soon as one returned, the other would disappear whilst the little beaks kept squawking.

From the kitchen came the crackle of radio and then a song, something like Mulatu Astatke but she couldn’t be sure. Coffee smells came floating out with the tune and Sarah turned from the cityscape for the first time in what could have been hours. The soft yellow lights of the kitchen made her eyes wince. What have you been doing all this time? Robert asked without looking, aware of Sarah’s thin presence hung in the doorframe.

Just watching, she answered. The city is so beautiful at night.

Robert didn’t seem to hear. As he cracked eggs into a bowl Sarah thought about the little beaks chiming from the building opposite. He looked up, eyes catching for the first time on that blue April morning. Omelette? he asked, seeming to nod at the cooker hob, on which a thin ring of flames flickered expectantly...

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