Free the birds

The birds were all dead. Or dying. It must have been her fault for not feeding them, but how could there be so many dead after only a day? She tried to think. Hadn’t she put seed and water in the cages just yesterday? She was sure she had. She looked down the row of cages each containing several birds. Mostly dead. One clutched at her through the bars, getting talons caught in her sweater. Startled, she yanked her arm away, and the bird’s entire foot came off like a piece of taxidermy. The bird was so dehydrated there wasn’t a single drop of blood spilled.

Some of the larger birds were pecking at the dead in their cages, fitfully. Not like they were hungry, more as if they were trying to figure out what was wrong.

The smell.

She thought it should be worse, somehow. It was pretty bad, but shouldn’t it be worse?

She knew she needed to do something. Help the birds who were suffering. Wring their necks, maybe. Something. She was terrified. She needed to think of something to do.

She ran.

She kept running until she got into the house, slamming the door behind her.

She didn’t notice the very large shadow in the back of the barn. It wasn’t surprising. He was more of a shadow than even the shadows. He walked towards the door she had run out, shaking his head slowly, more birds dying as he passed.

“Not your fault, my treasure, not at all…I’d forgotten how fragile the small creatures are. I shall need to be more careful among you.”

Samael raised a hand slightly, and the birds revived. He wondered if it would please Mara if he freed them all as he walked toward the house. He thought idly that he was glad that he was not so easily damaged as these twittering feathered things around him. “Birds,” he thought, “they’re called birds. Annoyingly fragile things,” and walked towards the house, glad to be near Mara.

He could feel how frightened and sad she was. She would be happy that the birds were alive again.

He enjoyed making Mara happy. He hoped he wouldn’t break her. It was easy to reanimate the small creatures, but people…people were harder.