Day the Seventh: Pets
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At the Sea-Side



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Release date

12th April, 2014

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Day the Eighth: Talents



The old building is unused. It has fallen into disrepair; forgotten, bordering the sea, the salt has worn away the paint and worked its way into the foundation. The walls, covered in mould, provide sustenance for the numerous beetles and insects that inhabit the area. I won't complain, despite the smell, as those same bugs become dinner for myself and by flock—my young family.

The humans have forgotten, you see. They must have, so intent on progress that they leave the past behind. This building if not much younger than the city it has been built in—perhaps two decades, give or take. People don't wander along the wharf at this side of town. Downtown should really be renamed 'no town', because the only people are the thinly dressed beggars who wander these streets, hoping to find something left behind. A piece of the past that might proved them a future.

My home—this building—has always been left alone. It was once used to create something, although I've long since forgotten the real reason. Perhaps it was like Santa's workshop, creating trinkets for those who need it? And, just like that fabled building, it's been forgotten and lost.

It's not incredibly big; actually, it's almost like a small cottage. Thick walls of stone insulate my family and myself from the harsh winter that rolls around every second solstice. It went on for years, until one spring changed everything.

The peace I had, coexisting with the other forgotten beings, was broken one bright, dewy morning. Awake with the sun, announcing my existen{{F|ce to the world, I suddenly spied on a woman walking along the path. She was dressed far more ornately than the zombies that usually shuffled through the neighbourhood, but most certainly not like the nobles, sitting on their golden thrones. In her hands was a small sack; however, it was a bright glittering that immediately piqued my interest. Jumping from the roof, I glided towards her, pulling up sharply and landing on an eave of a building opposite. The tattered cloth swayed in a gentle breeze, and the woman glanced up several seconds later. She didn't turn to look at me, continuing on her way. I could see what I couldn't before; the fragile rounding of her womb.

I had seen much of this in my life (my previous home had been in a park, where such visually similar women were common). There was a child within her, but something was missing. The telltale glint of gold on her hand was missing. I cawed, perhaps lamenting that fact.

She did not deviate from her path, slowly making her way towards the beach. I take to the air, following behind slowly. She stops outside my home, that little cottage-like warehouse, before taking a few tentative steps towards the entrance. I watch, interested. The building has fared worse than most others, perhaps by its position in the open, or the smaller size. Whatever the reason, it doesn't deter her as she continues over the threshold. I fly to my perch; a small beam of the ceiling, open to the world by way of a hole, created once by angered wolf-bats and abandoned, just like the rest of the town.

My head cocks, watching her. She shouldn't be straining herself, but I can see she already is. The warehouse is empty of machines, and I half-expect her to collect the old oil-lamp and let light flood into the small room. She doesn't, instead moving around the perimeter, touching each wall. She's inspecting it, I realise, and soon she seems satisfied.

Taking a broom, she begins to sweep. There is a small kitchenette to one side and a toilet to the other; neither have worked for an age, the plumbing failing years ago. There is an old pump behind the building, and she pulls a small dish from the sack. Clothes tumble out after it, although she doesn't bother to clean it up. Jumping down, I wait until she has left to inspect it further. There were some smaller pieces of cloth, and several qipaos for herself, however it was the addition of a small tunic that smelt like nothing else she had that I stopped to look at. I was so caught up with the soft material, thin but warm, that I didn't notice the woman return. Her presence did not alarm me so much that I took flight, but generations of instinct couldn't be quelled and I took several jumps back.

"Little birdy," she murmured, placing the dish (now full of water) on the floor. There were rags in the corner that I had never noticed before, and I watched as she picked them up and began scrubbing them. Sitting on the newly swept floor, she didn't strike me as a threat, and I moved a little closer.

"Do you live here, Little Birdy?" she asked; my response was to jump forward again. "I hope you don't mind me intruding, then..."

Pecking at the floor, I was suddenly overcome by some emotion. Perhaps embarrassment? I was not used to a person speaking so kindly, nor so soft. The woman finished with the first rag, squeezing the water from it. I could see the cloudiness of the water, and I glanced at her, suddenly struck with the same cloudiness in her eyes. With some effort, she managed to stand up; before refilling the bowl, she hung the rag over the broken windowsill, allowing it to flutter in the breeze. The sun was fully risen now, although it still wasn't too hot. She repeated the ritual with each left-over rag, not speaking again. She made her own nest on the clean material, slumping into it as soon as it was dry. I had left to find some food before then, and returned to see her eyes shut, breathing lightly. Her face was paler than it had been earlier, and I gently pecked at her. She responded by brushing me away, reaching towards her bag. From the depths, she pulled out a small apple; biting off a small piece, she gave it to me with a small smile.

"Don't you have a family either?" she asked. "Little Birdy, let's be a family together..."

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