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Alan S. Falkingham | from:English

The Lonely Magpie – ‘My Flash Story’ contest–first place

Photo by Chris Sabor on Unsplash

I watched his face, nutmeg brown from the sun and criss-crossed like alpaca tracks, grow paler by the day, a yellow hue to his beautiful eyes that the doctor said was because his liver was quitting on him. When he died, I paid two hundred dollars to have his gold tooth extracted by a dentist from Cleves and another two hundred to a Jewish jeweler who hung it on a chain. I keep it around my neck, so that I can always have a little piece of him close to my heart. I wear his skin too, an odd sock or a favorite scarf, even his coat, so over-sized that when I walk I can spread my wings and feel the wind whipping underneath them, lifting me up. Sometimes I career around my yard, cawing at the clouds until the neighbors chase me inside, my hair-feathers tangled into dark ropes. I bathe in a tiny bowl of tap water and live on flaxseed and fat balls which I fry myself then leave to harden in the skillet, the smell lingering for days in our big empty house. At night, I flutter into roof space, make a bed in between the timbers, tearing strips of insulation fiber from the wall spaces for comfort and every morning I awake early, with the sunrise.

When the police come they are like big scarecrows. They say I’ve been stealing silver, from a tip jar, and try to trap me in a cage. I peck at them, claw them with my hands, the nails all gnarled and curling. Because they do not understand that once there were two of us. But now there is just me. And that my sorrow is all I have left that matters.

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