The light was streaming in through the clear window of the reading room and today was the day I was going to steal my beautiful beloved from the evil clutches of Librarian. I gazed down from my perch, ruffling my green feathers and watched as she manhandled her. Shifting back and forth across the numbers on her bottom day after day and crashing her cruelly against the inside of books.
Enough was enough. I needed to save my love from Librarian’s cruel fingers and her crueller fate. This wasn’t my first attempt. Last Tuesday, I had managed to get out and dove for her talons outstretched when Librarian’s back was turned.
She squawked, flapped. Attacked me. Well, I wasn’t going to take that. I attacked right back and in the frenzy of flailing arms and wings managed to shit on her clothes before she could wrestle me back into the cage of doom.
I hunkered down and glared, not taking nearly enough satisfaction that she missed the shit on the back of her head. The witch went right back to manhandling my beloved. Unfortunately, she did spot the shit on her cheese and onion sandwich. I’d have enjoyed watching her eat that.
She threw me a filthy look. I glared back.
I squawked. Bitch.
It continued like that for several minutes until she got bored.
But today, I was going to do it. I was going to rescue my love and we would live happily ever after. Captain Flint and Date Stamp. Together forever.
I had to wait for the reading room to be empty. I couldn’t risk anyone else getting involved, it was going to be hard enough taking on the cranky old bitch that continually molested my beloved.
She walked over to me with a smile like we weren’t mortal enemies.
‘Polly want a cracker?’
My name is Captain Flint, witch. But I wanted a cracker, so squawked. Damn her ability to win me over with Ritz. She pushed it through the bars and I gobbled it up, trying to subtly catch her fingers before she retrieved them. I was too slow today and she had a plaster protecting her finger from the day before. Yesterday, she had been the slow one.
‘I think you can come out today for a little bit, Polly.’
Flint! My name is Flint! I must hold it together. If she lets me out, I can grab Date Stamp and we can fly off into the beautiful sunlight together before Librarian has even had the chance to realise what’s going on.
‘But no trying to steal my sandwiches today,’ Librarian added with a soft chuckle. I glared. Yeh, like I would ever deign to eat cheese and onion sandwiches.
I glanced behind her. Date Stamp was resting enchantingly in a ray of sunshine. She must be warm by now. I could just imagine her thrilling angles against the feathers of my chest. She looked so beautiful.
Librarian took my quiet for compliance. She glanced left and right, checking no one else was in the reading room. It was still early. Usually, we didn’t get visitors until late afternoon, when they were bleary-eyed and trying to avoid daylight. She unlatched the cage gingerly. We’d tried this before. It hadn’t ended well. For either of us.
I had to fight my urge to peck her hand as she stretched it out and I stepped confidently on, puffing out my chest and turning my head away from her in vague disgust. I had to hold everything together. Deep breaths. Avoid the frustration of waiting. She drew me out and stroked my head. It actually felt quite nice, but I couldn’t succumb to her magical devilry. I’m sure that was how Date Stamp had been stolen all those years ago. If I succumbed, I too would become a slave, manhandled and abused for all eternity. Worse still, Date Stamp would never be free.
‘There’s a good bird.’
She walked with me to the desk and set me down on the lamp. I was just above Date Stamp. I hadn’t been this close to her in so long. Not since the disastrous rescue attempt of ‘09 when I had ended up drenched in hot bitter tasting liquid.
‘There you are. Isn’t that better, being out of your cage for a little bit?’
I cocked my head, letting her think I cared what she said, and hopped along the lamp. I needed to be on the desk, right next to Date Stamp for this to work. I fluttered my wings as I fell onto the desk, chuckling to myself as she cringed away.
Just wait, Librarian. Just wait. I hopped back and forth leaning forwards and brushing my beak against the table. This little dance always enraptured her and her tension left as she made a soft squawking sound. She turned to the computer screen.
In the name of love!
I flapped my wings rising from the desk and grabbed Date Stamp launching into the air.
The papers on her desk blew off. Don’t worry my love! You will soon-
My flight was cut short. She grabbed me, hands sandwiched around my middle. I held onto Date Stamp as I struggled. I wouldn’t be separated from her again. Librarian forced me back into the cage. When she tried to steal Date Stamp from me, I flapped my wings, squawked, made to peck her.
‘Stupid bird,’ she muttered, shutting the cage door.
Date stamp was still in my grip. I couldn’t believe it, we weren’t free, but we were together. I kissed my beloved and landed on the floor of the cage, pressing my breast to hers while Librarian returned to her desk, opened a draw and pulled out Date Stamp’s twin sister.
Victoria Williams was born in England and has worked in Kuwait and Beijing as a Primary school teacher since 2011. She has been shortlisted for the TSS Flash Fiction prize and the Writer’s Bureau 2018 short story prize. Additionally, she has a short story published on The Same, titled One Hour More. Victoria also has a blog at vwilliamswriter.wordpress.com.
Her Twitter handle is @victoriaw_88