It was almost impossible to make out who all the mourners were. To defend themselves from the ravages of this dreadful winters day everybody stood covered from head to foot in rain soaked clothing, like so many eerie black statues. Two tiny children were being comforted by their ashen faced grandmother. And two people clutched each other as one at the back of the assembled crowd. Somehow they seemed different. Like strangers.
And then they were gone.
A week later Candice’s mother Janice was reluctantly going through the house, hoping to find some clue which might explain her daughters’ sudden death. Her eye was caught by a piece of crumpled paper on the floor. It was a letter. As she unfolded it she soon realised it was in Jimmy’s hand. It was dated just days ago. She began reading it.
‘My darling Candice - I have to tell you....
A sudden shattering of glass shook Janice to her core. Through the smashed window pane flew a black bird. Round and round the room it flew knocking paintings from the wall, sending the Christmas tree crashing to the floor and scattering bottles and glasses everywhere. Round and round it flew, squawking and shrieking. Round and round and round. Janice cowered in a corner, her arms covering her head. When would it stop? Round and round and round.
A sudden deafening silence.
It was several minutes before she dared peep out from behind her clammy ice cold hands. All around was chaos. The room was wrecked. An ice cold wind rushed through the broken window. The curtains flapped like unsecured spinnakers on a runaway yacht.
She crawled across the floor and felt sudden pain as she sliced her knee on a shard of glass. Grabbing hold of the ledge, she slowly pulled herself up and peered out into the flooded desolate garden. She felt the warmth of her blood trickling down her leg. Through the sheeting rain she could just make out the image of two black birds. The wind was tugging at a rain sodden piece of paper which the larger one was holding in its beak. In an instant, the wind won. The paper tumbled across the lawn and snagged in a rose bush several yards away. Janice looked back to the lawn.
The black birds had flown.
To read the Epilogue click HERE