The Little Red Bird – Short Story

Wild Library_The Little Red Bird_Chantelle Elizabeth Turner

The little red bird puffs herself up and with a bright eye, she watches the sleepy world. Thin winter mist swirls and eddies through the yellow leaves around her. She takes a deep breath and her shrill song fills the quiet morning:

‘What’s a lonely bird to do
On a grey winter’s morning?
Ooh-hoo!
No songs, no friends
Alone I fly
They left for greener pastures
And warmer skies…’

A movement in the brick house across the street makes her jump. A scowling human appears at the window. Rubbing his eyes he takes a moment to scan the trees before smacking the window shut. The little red bird cuts off her song in fright.

The wind carves its way down the street, bringing icy air and vaguely familiar scents with it. It rocks the trees and the yellow leaves fall with a soft patter on the pavement below. The silence grows around her and hangs thick and heavy in the air. When she can no longer bear it, she bravely takes up her song:

‘Oh, what’s a lonely bird to do?
The air grows cold
The trees fall quiet
Ooh-hoo!
Winds are bold
No new friends
Not this year
Boo-hoo!’

A dog barks furiously in the yard. The little red bird peers down at the great hairy beast standing on his hind legs at the fence. He spots her and his voice climbs an octave, his tail now wagging with curiosity.

‘What’s a lonely little bird to do?’ She croons at him.
‘Befriend a silly dog?
Oh-ho!
Only to become a plaything, no, nooo…

The window is cracked open again and the now red-faced human shouts at the barking dog. With his tail between his legs, the dog creeps back to his damp dog house, whimpering to himself. The little red bird fills her lungs with air:

‘Oh! What’s a lonely bird to do!’

She jumps around at the soft rustle of leaves behind her. A sturdy ginger cat, pupils wide as blackberries, is balanced precariously on a branch not far from her. Slowly he stalks towards her, the willowy branches creaking under his weight. The little red bird hops nervously, but defiantly takes up her song, even louder than before:

‘I wait for the summer sun
Not knowing what will be
Cats and dogs
Are no good as friends…’

The cat leaps, but the little red bird spreads her wings and flaps off into the grey morning, her eyes bright and her voice full of laughter:

‘…but they sure are good fun
When you’re just a lonely little bird
Like me.’

 

If you enjoyed reading about the little red bird, you might like The Collectors, a story about a strange boy called Bernard and a red-billed crow with her own art collection.

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