“It’s bad luck to kill a crow,” the voice is low, female, inflected with an accent I can’t place. Lancashire somewhere. It’s harder to identify as it’s muffled by, I see as I look up from the black corpse in my hands, a rubber bunny mask. She is holding hands with a young man in a horse mask. I didn’t hear them approach.
“I didn’t kill it,” I protest. “I found it here.” It’s true. It was stretched on its back, wingtips reaching the very edges of the flat rock I almost tripped on. I’d picked it up before I realised it was dead, hoping I could take it to a vet. I hadn’t noticed that someone had gutted the bird and I feel its entrails slipping between my hands as I speak.
“The bird doesn’t care,” said the boy, same unplaceable accent. “You’re touching its insides, using its sight.”
“This is nonsense,” I say aloud. I put the bird down – it’s beyond any help – and stand. There is a strong breeze, the boy and girl have gone. I can hear them whispering so they must have run as I brushed the leaves from my clothes. A bird lands heavily in the nearest tree, causing a rain of leaves. In the corner of my eye I see someone duck behind a tree. The boy?
No, I see him further away, still with the girl. And still. A figure moves behind a far tree. Another bird lands. Bad luck.