When the Family Strange moved to this wee rural idyll in south west Scotland we were very pleased that our neighbours turned out to be a lovely retired couple, having had altercations with somewhat intolerant knuckle dragging neighbours at our previous home, who brought us round flowers and a welcome card when we moved in. Seriously, where does that happen? We were however somewhat concerned at their love of birds. Especially for one bird in particular. A blackbird that they described as tame and which would often sit upon a tree stump in our garden or upon the fence between our garden and theirs. You see we have a cat. We were only somewhat concerned as she had never really been that much of a killer when we lived in a more urban locale. Exposure to the great outdoors however seemed to wreak a terrible change upon her personality and she quickly became a vicious, savage, psychotic murderer of wildlife.

We had barely been in the new house for two days when the mutilated corpses of birds and voles began appearing on our back step. Often completely dismembered and, horrifyingly, there would occasionally only remain the face of some poor creature. It is not a pleasant experience to open the kitchen door to have a morning cigarette and discover the face of a small rodent ritually deposited, as if in supplication, upon the step. Especially if one has a hangover.

We did all that we could to mitigate the murderous rampages of our once placid feline companion. We tried to keep her in at dawn and dusk when the local birds would be most likely to be feeding on the ground. We put a collar with a bell on her for the first time. These measures have served to reduce her body count quite considerably I am pleased to say. Only last week I mentioned it to a house guest that I was pleased at how we had been able to to alleviate the effect of her predations upon the local wildlife. The favoured blackbird was, as I spoke, sat upon the tree stump and so I pointed it out commenting that I was surprised that the bird had survived so long with the ever present threat of our vicious, yet furry, killer.

Imagine then my horror when I opened the door on Wednesday morning to see black tail feathers jutting through the verdant blades of our lawn below the washing line. Upon investigation I discovered that it was, indeed, the favoured blackbird. The poor beast had had its neck broken and been left lying there. The furry little monster hadn’t even begun to eat it. It had simply been murdered and its body left lying there as if to mock the sentimentality of our neighbours. I hate that cat. Hurriedly I disposed of the corpse and prayed to any myth which may have cared to listen that the sweet old couple next door had not seen the cat’s attempt to torment them.

After informing the rest of the Family Strange what had happened, the little one found it horrifyingly amusing which furthers my suspicion that she is turning into Wednesday Addams, we agreed that it was probably best not to mention it to the neighbours and to just hope that they assumed it had either moved on elsewhere or had met its end naturally.

Imagine my surprise then, dear reader, when I went for a cigarette this morning only to find the favoured blackbird sat upon the garden fence eyeing me suspiciously.

I kid you not. It had returned from the dead and was mocking me. I assume that it considers me to be somehow in charge of its executioner yet nothing could be further from the truth. I dread to think what terrible vengeance it plots against me and mine for the actions of that unholy hunting fiend which makes its home in ours. Fear for us readers, fear for us.

Blackbird Lugosi’s dead. Undead. Undead. Undead. (to be sung in time with the below song)

mildge

Any suggestion that it was in fact another blackbird entirely which suffered the attentions of the cat, and that I did not examine the corpse sufficiently so as to establish its identity, will be met with the derision they deserve.
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