Even in boots I can move quietly when I need to. I’m slow and steady, making sure I talk to the bird real softly as I make my way over. He flaps hard but he can’t go anywhere. His eyes don’t leave mine at all, and when I get there he caws at me but doesn’t freak out like I thought he might.
His feathers are muddy and trashed. His leg looks sore where the wire’s cut him, but it seems like he can still move it.
I don’t know where posh guy keeps a tool kit and I wouldn’t want to head all the way back to the house even if I did. This crow needs freeing right away, so I crouch down, crawling along the last bit, right through the mud, until I can get a proper look at things. I sigh in relief to find I can do this. I really can do this by hand.
I’m careful. Really careful.
I put my hand on the crow’s wings and hold him to the ground, just enough to steady him. My fingers free up some slack on the wire and gently, really gently, I twist it free of the bird’s leg.
I’m quick when I’ve done it, bundling the bird into my arms before he can attempt to fly away. I’ll need to look at him, maybe wash him down with something and try to straighten up his mangled feathers.
I feel like I’m carrying the most amazing treasure on the planet as I head back to the house. The crow doesn’t fight me, not when he’s held safe under my arm. It’s like he knows I saved him, and it figures, because they’re super smart birds. Smarter than some people, I’m sure, because so many people are fucking idiots.
I don’t really have a plan for once I’m inside, so I just shut the back door behind me and hope the crow stays calm when I put him on the kitchen island.
The moment I let him go he flaps about and takes off right through to the dining room.
I haven’t got time to take my boots off, be fucked with posh guy’s carpets. I haven’t got time to do anything but chase after the bird and hope he doesn’t wreck everything before I’ve even had the chance to help his foot.
He settles on the top of some big display cabinet, so I grab a dining chair and climb up after him. He’s gone before I reach him, and as he takes off he dislodges one of the ornaments on the top shelf. The big garish glass thing tumbles before I can catch it, smashes on the floor into a billion pieces of gaudy coloured glass.
Fuck. It’s not even lunchtime and I’m already trashing the fucking place.
The sound of smashing glass freaks the poor crow out worse, and he shits himself, dumping big globs of crap over the dining table before he heads through the door back into the hallway.
Fuck. I should’ve fucking closed that.
My boots crunch over the broken glass and trample a load of it with me. I see the sparkles in the carpet as I chase the bird around the house, finally cornering him in the living room where he settles on a big framed-mirror behind the sofa.
He stops. Stares at me.
And I know he’s thinking, watching, working me out. It’s like he can see right into me.
“I’m sorry I scared you,” I whisper. “I’m just trying to help your foot, that’s all.”
He blinks and his eyes are so black.
“I just want to help,” I tell him. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”
I’m so pleased when he doesn’t fly off again. It’s pure instinct to step up onto the sofa and balance myself on the back cushions.
I can almost reach him here. He shuffles along the frame but he doesn’t fly away.
“I’m a friend,” I say. I’m so gentle as I stretch out and reach for him, I really am.
I’m close. So close. Moving so slowly I daren’t even breathe in case I startle him.
My heart is beating fast, a big smile on my face as I realise he’s really going to let me catch him.
And then there’s a bang.
The loud fucking bang of the front door being barged open.
The crow freaks out and takes off, and he craps again on his way. He’s flapping around the room, knocking fucking ornaments from the mantelpiece in his frantic flight, causing a real fucking commotion because some dumbfuck thumped the fucking door wide open.
I hear footsteps in the hall, and I’m raging. I’m fucking raging.
I know it must be Michael, because who fucking else would it be?
I know it’s his heavy fucking footsteps clumping through the hall, oblivious to the fact he’s just fucked my perfect fucking crow-bonding effort.
“You’re a noisy sonofabitch,” I hiss as I try to head the bird into the corner. “Next time, try to swing the front fucking door right off its hinges, why don’t you?!”