More Short Fiction

9 May

Samantha watched as a trio of fat little birds fluttered over from a nearby tree that looked scraggly and neglected. One hopped over to the middle of the table, pushing cardboard boxes and plastic cups around with its beak. The leader found one that wouldn’t budge and hopped inside. The small ones followed, and she stood in fascination as they made short work of the stale bread, working through the meat and cheese that had long since congealed into a sickly mass.

She put out her cigarette on an oily paper bag, and as she walked away she saw out the corner of her eye that a dozen more birds had joined the three, scuffling and shoving each other for a piece of the meal.

A man in a short, sweat-stained business shirt walked over with a hand outstretched. Samantha took it and immediately regretted doing so, she resisted the urge to wipe her hand on her pants.

“Thanks for coming so quickly detective. As you can see we’re a busy store and I wanted to have this dealt with as soon as possible.”

“Of course, we will have to keep the playground closed for at least the rest of the day, but otherwise normal operations should be able to continue. I must ask first, has anyone else been in here?”

“Not to my knowledge detective” the manager said with a nervous smile. “We have the breakfast shift clean up here at around 7, some of the local teenagers come here to drink sometimes, so we have to get rid of the bottles and the, uhh, butts, before the children arrive. Tim found this while on clean-up duty, and we thought it best not to go inside so as not to, uhh, interfere with the evidence. Am I saying that right, detective?”

“That’s all fine, you said on the phone there was some exterior damage?”

“Yes, if you’ll follow me”

The manager lead them over to the far corner if the playground, he crouched under one of the many brightly coloured tubes and went through in an almost comical waddle. Once on the other side it was clear something was stuck inside the tube, the blue plastic groaned with its weight, and there was a distinct shadow in the center. Samantha reached out to touch one of the metal rivets and it sparked back.

Instinctively, she jumped away and put her finger in her mouth. She looked down and realised what she was doing, and it was then that she noticed a thin drip of liquid coming from the bottom of the slide.She motioned to one of the other officers to rope of the area when she was interrupted by the sound of 20 pairs of shoes running across rubber concrete. The manager scrambled across the playground to one of the workers.

“Jesus Christ you guys can’t come in, you’ve got to get these kids the fuck out of here now”

“Sorry Sir” the teenager presumably in charge said, scratching the back of his head. “We had a party scheduled for 10”

Samantha ran to pull the kids from the entrances, but it was too late. There was a piercing scream, and in unison the birds all flew away.

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