Seven For A Story, Yet To Be Told

August is too hot for sleeping or woo; it’s better suited to rum drinks with umbrellas and wistful imaginings in hammocks. Not that the door was in danger of being knocked down by suitors or anything, and sleep, well, sleep avoided Lila like it owed her money.

Lila leaned on the stove waiting for her coffee, wiggling her pretty toes (she had trouble seeing herself as beautiful, but she knew her toes were tiny Bernini masterpieces) and wondering why the word “loofah” made her smile. She avoided thinking about what she might get up to later, so as to avoid disappointing herself. Plans are for those who do not wish to be swept off into whimsy, after all.

The kitchen window was open a crack, left so after last night’s forgotten frozen pizza. Lila moved to close it but was startled as a magpie landed on the molding outside, its head cocked rakishly. She jumped and made a sound not entirely unlike a cartoon damsel, rueing, “Damn you, birdie, you nearly scared the daylights out of me!”

The magpie was silent, however, neither acknowledging nor denying its part.

“Well, I suppose I should salute you, shouldn’t I?” Lila brought her right hand up in the customary karate-chop-to-the-forehead gesture, “Good morning, Captain! How’s the wife and kids?”

Lila chuckled at her silliness. She wasn’t the superstitious sort but these are new days and who knows what changes may come. If she had been the sort, she would have drawn some magic circle on the door to keep that stupid Mark - may his dangly bits fall off - at bay.

“No time for that morose nonsense!” Lila chided, rinsing her favorite coffee mug.

“No time!” Lila jumped and reeled, staring at the magpie, nearly dropping the mug.

Her brain did a quick assessment: Am I hearing things? Did I accidentally smoke too much weed last night and suffer a psychosis? Have I finally lost it?

The magpie, for its part, seemed nonplussed by the gaping woman, comically bent over the still-running faucet, her cotton panties in a firm wedgie, as was likely her grasp on reality.

“No time for gloominess, Miss Lila. The sun is out and it is a cloudless day. It is yours to do nothing with, if that is your druther, and I suspect it should be if it isn’t.”

Lila felt woozy and she could feel the mug slipping from her fingers. It was as if…as if…well, as if a magpie had suddenly started to speak English in a slight Southern drawl, admonishing her not to be so melancholic. She was startled back into the moment by the sound of her coffee mug clattering noisily in the porcelain sink.

“B-b-b…wha…” Lila declared, firmly.

“Percival, Miss Lila.” squawked the bird, even more firmly.

“P-p-percival?” Lila had not moved from her crouch over the sink.

“Yes. I am Percival. I thought it finally time we should formally meet,” Pericval crowed, “You should sit down, Miss Lila. You look a bit pale. I would pull out your chair but I lack the flap to get the job done.”

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Lila pulled up a chair and sat down. No, she didn’t smoke last night. Not at all. Drink yes but nothing strong either. It was, as far as Lila remembered, a normal night with little excitement; definitely nothing that would’ve brought about an anthropomorphic bird from Dover.

“Normally, I’d ask you to pull up another chair, but circumstances make that a needless luxury” said Percival.

“Miss Lila, I know you’re worried and probably frightened but unfortunately there are no two ways around this. The council don’t know I’m here”

“Council?” replied Lila “like…the town council? The president’s office?”

“No” Percival trailed off briefly. He flew outside and seemed to survey the area. Lila grabbed the leftover pizza and took a bite. Nope, nothing spiked in that.

“It’s not safe to explain but just know, for the time being, that I’ll be asking a big favour of you Miss. Lila. A favour that you owe me even if you don’t remember”.

There was a flapping of wings outside. Lila’s half eaten pizza dropped to the floor as she reeled back from the intruding talons. Percival dodged sideways and downwards to the dark corner between the cabinet and a wall.

“I heard a voice” said the crow.

“Oh jesus” thought Lila “fucking magical bird wars”

The crow cowed. It yelled. It belted its lungs out. It screeched at the highest pitch its body would let it.

Lila blocked her ears and kicked it. She picked it up by its wings and tossed it out the window.

“Close the window” said Percival.