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The old woman and the magpies

[The Old woman and the magpies, 690 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]

* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn

Leah was getting old. Time had passed as time usually does. The years had been kind to her, or kind enough. As kind as things can possibly be in these type of circumstances. She was growing old and the pleasant surroundings of her home were fading into the background. The background of her life that was framed into the rest of her surroundings. She lived in a two story house. A place that she had given over a lifetime of work to achieve. And she had achieved it, through hard work and dedication, she had earned her comfortable lifestyle. And now she was coming into the twilight years of her life.

Over the past few years Leah and her elderly husband had been feeding the birds. They were magpies, a native bird to Australia. They had been feeding them morsels of meat. The birds were welcome company to the aging couple who would look outside and onto the view that overlooked the surrounding bush land. But as they aged, they grew weary and tiresome, this companionship that they had built up with the birds would not last forever.

Leah was now approaching her eightieth year in her life, she had a crooked back and her husband was now in a nursing home. She was now free from the complaints of her husband who had been complaining about his own health concerns. She would sit in her abode with a cup of tea. Gently nursing the cup of tea and pondering this subject and that. She would sit outside, upon the balcony of her home and talk to the birds. She would give each of the birds names. Names like ‘Harold’, ‘Jeffrey’ and ‘Boris’. Boris was her favourite among the birds. Though she never really knew which bird was which. She could not identify each of the birds from one another. But still she would call them this name and that.

Further years passed and she no longer had the energy to feed them all. This became a problem to the birds who had built up a dependency on the elderly woman, who had been feeding them over so many years.

She ate frozen meals that had been cooked in the microwave. She was on a strict budget and money was tight. Long past were the days where she could give away food to the birds willy nilly. And the birds, they were growing angry; angry and hungry.

It was on a warm summer’s day in which the birds decided to turn on Leah. Leah, the poor old woman who thought the birds were her friends. The birds, the magpies cooed into the air and called for backup from the surrounding birds whom had nests in the area. The birds began to flock around her as she was busy on her knees outside doing a spot of weeding and gardening.

Then the birds went in for the kill. They began swooping at the poor old woman. Swooping at her with evil intention.

She called out, “Boris, no!”, “Harold! We were friends,” and, “Jeffrey, I can’t afford to give you food anymore.” But the birds, they didn’t care. They were birds and couldn’t understand the English language. All the birds knew was that this was a food source and now it wasn’t. So the birds would take their food source directly from the flesh.

Leah picked up a broom and began waving it at the birds. “Get away you crazy animals!” And the birds continued to swoop at her. The birds called for further backup. She swiped at them with the broom. She did not have the dexterity to hit them, but still she was able to ward them off somewhat.

She managed to escape indoors and find a hiding place in the safety of her home. She did not know what to do. She couldn’t step outside anymore because of the birds.

In the end she came up with a plan and that plan was to sell the house and find somewhere else to live. In her new home she would not make the same mistake of feeding the birds again.


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