The Birdhouse

There is something living in the birdhouse. I am very certain it is not a bird.

I did see a bird land there once, in the dappled sunlight. I watched it poke its head hesitantly through the hole. I saw it suddenly pulled inside. I saw the coins thrown out and onto the ground. The lack of birdsong in the Summer months made sense to me after that.

I kept the coins as recompense for losing the birdsong. My parents did not care much for wildlife. The birdhouse had been there when we moved in and they only did the bare minimum to take care of the garden, not bothering to inspect it. My older brother said the birds annoyed him. Everything annoyed him, actually. Especially me. That was his excuse to wear noise-cancelling headphones all the time and never talk to me.

I took food to the birdhouse. I tried birdseed, at first. It did not drop any money, but the next morning there were coins and feathers covered in blood on the grass. It wanted meat.

I took it bits of dinner and lunchmeat picked from sandwiches. I was careful to use tongs to put the food inside. Whatever was inside had a vice-like grip. It would grab at the tongs, tearing the morsels from them and only relinquishing the metal after gnawing them to test for further food. The teeth must have been sharp, to leave gouges in the metal.

My brother started getting suspicious. He asked why a brat with no job had so much money. He took my money box and said he would tell my parents about it if I complained.

I told him I found a stash of money in the old birdhouse out back. I told him it was right at the back and that he would have to reach all the way inside.

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