I was standing at the kitchen counter opening a tin of naturally smoked Kipper Snacks for myself and Charlene when we were startled by a loud, sharp rapping on the window. Rat-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-tat-tat. It was the kind of racket a sapsucker makes on a metal roof. Except this was thin glass inches from my nose. I could hear but see nothing. I looked at Charlene who returned the puzzled look, tilted her head, cocked an ear, summoned a growl, stood and began to bark. This at exactly the moment thin lines began spreading like a webbed fuse through the windowpane igniting an explosion of glass. Now Charlene was barking furiously. The panicked commotion of a large bird trapped indoors banging against walls and ceiling filled the room. But only sound. No bird. All at once the dog stopped. The flapping settled. Ghost bird. How is this possible? It’s high noon on a bright sunny day in an entirely unhaunted house in simple world far away from anything unusual. One flap. Two flap. Flap flap on the fridge. Muffled growl from good girl good girl its okay good girl. We look at one another wondering what the flap flutter flap is happening when the fridge motor kicks on and the room returns to mayhem.
I stop. Overcome. The great whir of being with a mild tremor and shutter shuts down. Charlene is rearing frantic now. Somewhere I know she is barking. Small jars cups saucers and dry starfish are flying off the ledge and shelves, framed pictures tilt on the walls one falls hits the floor more broken glass. Then I tilt slide crumble fold onto the tiles and know that it is over. Charlene lays down beside me head between her paws. I see the bird now. An ivory billed woodpecker. Extinct we think but refuse to believe. Putting faith in unconfirmed sightings and empty handed expeditions. She sits on the windowsill surveying the damage then returns from whence she came.