The Magpie's Big Heist (Excerpt)
The magpies began to gather outside the big stone manor. In ones and twos and threes they arrived, and in tens and twenties they accumulated. They filled the branches of the ancient oak tree that shadowed the kitchen window. They hopped and wheeled upon the wide, sunny front lawn. You’d need to invent new rhymes just to count them all.

They’d been promised a chance to see the biggest, most impressive theft a magpie had ever achieved. Word had spread as only birds can spread it, and now they waited, in their hundreds, to see what would transpire.

Magpies love to steal, but more than that, they love a good show.

* * *

Mariah was a cynic. A skeptic, too. She’d be the first to admit it. Boast of it, rather. That hard-bitten streak of hers had gotten her where she was today.

And where was that, but in her own house, surrounded by lovely things, full of good food, and contemplating a long pleasant day of leisure? An unlikely location, after the childhood she’d endured. From her beginnings of want and lack, she’d scrabbled and sweated her way into a life her family had never dared dream of. She’d been the poor but clever tailor of the fairy tale, making her way out of poverty by slaying giants and dragons; now she was living the happily ever after.

She’d earned it. She deserved it. She meant to enjoy it for the rest of a long and easy life. And yet her importunate visitor kept suggesting she would walk away from it all.

“It is time,” the voice at her window said. “Today, you will see. You will believe, and you will follow.”

Her visitor had not shown his face, not once over the long month. He had only spoken to her from her window. First there had come the leaping glimmer along the back kitchen wall, as though someone stood just outside wearing a watch that reflected the sun....
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This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for January 8, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1101 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art features “Magpies Modelling 2” by steppelandstock (CC BY 3.0)
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