Mr. Kendrick hands me a knife, sheathed in a leather case. I slide it out, gripping its bone handle. The blade is razor sharp. I catch his eye.
“What’s this for?”
“Freeing the bird.”
The zipper of my coat catches, and I have to tug to get it up to my chin. I jam the knife into a pocket and step out into the glow from the porch light. The snow has slowed down. Mr. Kendrick follows in my footsteps to the door but stays outside.
The mew is musty and reeks of decomposing flesh. Something moves in the shadows. A claw scratches against the perch. I pull the cord and the small room floods with light. Rosie blinks while I look around and scramble for a good idea. None come to mind. Mr. Kendrick, in his bulky dark overcoat, lurks in the doorway.
Rosie opens her beak and lifts a small pink tongue, like a worm resting in her mouth. No sound comes out. She hunches her wings, turns her head, and watches me out of one eye. A leather strap as wide as a pencil is wrapped around her feet and the perch. I can’t really see the beginning or the end of it and am not sure how she is caught there. I take one step and bend to get a closer look. She lifts her wings and screams.
A bolt of electrical energy shoots through my body and sends me backward.
“Okay.” I gulp in a deep breath. “Okay, we’re here to help you.” My hand slides into the pocket and fingers the point of the knife sheath.
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