You woke up to a faint clattering noise, wondering what it was. For a moment, you pondered just sleeping through it, but considering it awakened you it could be a better idea to check it out – and rid yourself of a potential cause of insomnia in the process. Putting on your slippers, you made your way to the light switch. The harsh change of atmosphere drove any leftover drowsiness from your head as the bulb in the center of the room flickered to life.

The tapping and clanging continued as you listened to it, trying to identify the source of the noise. It seemed to be coming from somewhere below. Is there someone in my house? you wondered while your heart started to pound. Careful, trying not to make a noise, you grabbed the broom – the first thing to come to mind – from in the corner of your room. It was firm and rigid in your hands and would surely make for a decent weapon.

With every step you took, you were worried the next stair would creak. With every step you took, you were once again relieved that it didn’t, while slowly making your way down. Your foot touched down on the carpet in the hallway, having cleared the most risky obstacle. Cautiously, you snuck towards the living room. The noise got louder and louder as you came closer, leaning slightly towards the door, ready to take a peek and see whether someone was rummaging through your belongings.

The moonlight shone into the room, illuminating someone sitting near the display case, trying to get to the adornments and jewelry inside. The case was still closed, much to your relief; the thief hadn’t had the time to open it up and steal any valuable belongings before waking you up. A sudden reflection of light alerted you to some tool the stranger seemed to be holding. Tap. Tap. Tap.

With the burglar preoccupied, you considered your chances and tightened your grip on the solid broomstick. It was well within your right to defend your own property and, having made up your mind, you quietly snuck in. While lifting the broom above your head, you must have made a noise since the intruder, aware of the danger, suddenly turned around to face you.

CAW! CAW! A flash of reflected light blinded you, making you cover your eyes and stumble backwards. You caught a glimpse of something, but it wasn’t the tool you expected to see – what was it? You stepped back through the door, into the hallway to create some distance between the intruder and yourself before opening your eyes again. What you saw in front of you upon doing so wasn’t human; one half of its face was concealed in darkness but the other was illuminated.

A magpie’s head, made from a dark –almost black – metal, looked at you with eyes made out of gemstones. The metal had many seams and crevices, causing it to move in an innapropriately natural manner as its head tilted. The rubies in its eye sockets, a bloody shade of red, didn’t seem dead or inanimate. Instead, a maleficent intelligence seemed to house behind them, not at all associated with the human body wearing the monstrous piece of armor.

The magpie spread its arms and you recognized the scraping, clanging noise you heard earlier. All kinds of necklaces and jewelry seemed to hang down from the bird’s arms, making it look as if the creature had wings – an intimidating sight, as it slowly stepped towards you. Its beak opened itself, giving birth to a horrific noise. CAW! It reached for you, trying to close its hands around your neck.

Suddenly coming to your senses, you smacked it on its head with the broom, as hard as you could. The wood broke on the hard metal and a painful feeling shot up through your arms, making you drop the useless remains. You ran away, towards the kitchen, reaching for a knife, while the magpie with its ringing metal wings chased after you. Grabbing the largest knife you could find, you turned around. There the creature was, in all its vile glory. You reacted quickly, driving the knife into the vulnerable area of the chest, right under where the metal ended.

For a moment, all seemed lost as the creature didn’t even stagger and instead pecked at your face, determined to cut it up. Slowly, however, the massive metal bird began to collapse, sinking to the ground. One last time it looked at you with deadly intent but then the presence in its eyes faded away, escorted by a loud brattle as it fell.

Relieved, you let go of the dangerous utensil and sat down on the floor, as far away from the dead body as you could. Letting go of your bated breath, you glanced back at the bird, suddenly noticing something was wrong – its metal parts were melting!

You were all too late with your keen observation as you suddenly felt a freezing sensation on your skin. The cold steel agonizingly slowly flowed up your back, over your shoulders, up your neck. You tried to wipe it off, but it stuck to your hands and continued its way to your face. You screamed, yelled, begged of it to let go of you, to leave you be. You rolled over the floor, kicked and clawed at the pearly droplets creeping towards you; all in vain.

The liquid reached your eyes, forcing its way in between your eyelids when you closed them; the cold metal poured into your mouth and filled your ear tubes until you could hear nothing but your own heartbeat, see nothing but darkness and taste nothing but the unpleasantly cold metal folding itself around your teeth. You tried to breathe, but you couldn’t get air. Slowly, your consciousness slipped away, leaving you in a dream-like state as the world around you became visible again in a contemptuous shade of red and a hunger awakens within you – one that can only be satisfied through the most precious of valuables.

That is your story. It has become part of ours now, like you have become part of us. We stand on the rooftop as our wings jingle in the wind and a raw, victorious chant echoes over the city, striking fear into the hearts of the wealthy: we are the magpie; beware our greed.

Credit To – Kay

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