Mother Magpie

I stumble onto the cold kitchen floor as I slowly open my eyes. Saturday. Chores day. I know the drill: get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, get breakfast then chores, chores, CHORES! But that’s only if I’m here! I quickly get dressed and race out the door. Escape. I hop onto my bike and furiously pedal. Freedom! I start to relax. I head to Noah’s house, hoping that he is awake. The wind carries the ocean mist into my face. I feel calm.

I see the towering oak tree covered in lush, green leaves. I slow down and notice the intricate patterns in the bark. A whooshing sound startles me. I look up to see a flash of black and white. A fierce clacking sound seems to brush my ear. I see a beady red eye. I quickly start to pedal as fast as I can. A sound like thunder explodes as the sharp beak cracks into my helmet. I’m under attack by Cracticus tibicen, the common magpie, but there’s nothing common about this feeling of fear as I flee from its ferocity. I see myself sprawled across the road, the red of my blood mingling with the black and white of my relentless attacker. Oh, what a feeling of despair! I’m too young to have a Will but I wonder what might happen to my prize collection of shells. I shake the crazy idea out of my head and focus on not giving up. I must survive for the shells and for the human race!
I pedal like I’ve never pedalled before. I imagine myself in a world championship race of cyclists and the magpie is a competitor. I think the magpie is also imagining that too, for as I get faster the magpie gets faster. I feel the breeze whipping against my face. It stings my eyes, but I ignore that! I wonder if it is the wind or fear that brings water to my eyes. The world is now just a blur.

I start panicking and swerving. In a moment of terror, the pedals slip. The chain has come off! I am helpless against the attack and the magpie seems to know this as it squawks a victory cry. I realise that I am also helpless to the speed of my bike as it plummets downhill. I can’t jump off so I hang on grimly. A tight curve rushes at me. I forget about the squawking magpie as both my bike and I are launched into the air. I’m flying but it doesn’t last long. I’m heading for the creek. I prepare myself for impact. I remember reading Mulga Bill’s Bicycle and for some reason I burst out laughing. Suddenly the cold liquid hits me. I float to the top only to see my bike disappearing in a rush of bubbles.

I swim slowly to shore. My heart pounding. I feel like I’m about to faint. I drag myself onto the bank. No broken bones but I’ll have a few good bruises. I wait for the final thrust of a beak into my heart but it doesn’t come. Everything is quiet. The magpie must feel that it has done enough damage and has gone off patrolling for more victims. I begin to trudge back home. I don’t like magpies. I think they’re crazy and cruel. The magpie caused all of my pain. I creep past the oak tree, and I look up and I see the magpie. It is sitting on its nest taking care of its babies. I sneak away hoping that the bird doesn’t see me.
I make it home.
I’m still not safe though.
“Where have you been?” shrieked my mother. “I was worried about you! What if something bad happened to you?”
As mum wipes her hands on her black and white striped apron, I realise mum is just another type of magpie. She just wants to protect her young ones.
I pick up the broom and start to sweep the kitchen floor.
I realise chores aren’t so bad after all.

The End

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