Circling me with its evil beady eyes and maniacally jiggling head, it draws closer. Diseased, and more annoying than as a restless six year old craving attention. Surrounded by an air of innocence, but I know better. I know.
Oh, why are these vermin attracted to me? Can they smell fear? What do they secretly know? A businessman standing next to me juts out his briefcase to shoo it away.
Relieved, the sudden arrival of the train frightens away nature’s beast. As the carriage doors open, a crowd surges forward and we stampede inside. My cares about that fiend vanishes just as quickly. The doors close, a muffled announcement crackles over the speakers and we commence our journey.
Relaxing into the gentle sway of the train, the clickity-click persuades me into a warmth of slumber. Breaking through the caressing peace comes a subtle, yet distinctive call. A call of an indignant, coo. At first it is subtle and distant, without a care in the world. It draws closer.
In the corner of my eye, a woman rises ever so carefully, so not to raise alarm. In front, a man looks up from his screen, but doesn’t look down. He put his screen down and looks towards the woman. His face says a thousand words.
Gently, I turn my head. At first, the only picture in my vision is the woman and a group of strangers staring at the same point. I focus my gaze. There. On the headrest of the fourth row aisle seat is, the pigeon.
Before I can drop to the floor, the eye of the pigeon stares directly at me. Why, me? ‘What have I done to you’, my thoughts run wild.
An explosion of screams breaks the silence. A sudden powerful forward upward motion of newspapers, briefcases, hats, phones and discarded fast food wrappers litter the once empty expanse above the our heads. Frightful arms and legs lash out, punching and kicking the air as the invasion of swooshing feathers from an invisible source cuts through the mayhem.
Through the airborne debris, I hear a woman, her screams from her bright red lipstick lips, I see her, clutching at her hair, ragged and disarrayed, whilst tears stream from her distorted face. A man clings to the window as he attempts to climb onto the luggage rack, slamming his battered briefcase into the carriage window, swinging whatever his in his hand at his attacker. A younger woman cowers by the carriage door, forlorn, defeated in her battle for survival. What feels like hours of battle against the warring pigeon, the train stops to pick up more passengers.
The doors open. A collective of battered and beaten survivors, my fellow passengers, stampede onto the platform. Suckered by the onslaught of escaping passengers, airborne debris litters the platform. Warnings of ‘run for your life’, echo throughout the station. Stunned onlookers watch as our collective come to a stop, calm down and turn our attention to our war zone.
The inside of the carriage settles into a litter of wrappers and newspapers, as the pigeon stands at the carriage door, cooing. Cooing! Looking innocent and vulnerable, the pigeon alights the train. Cooing.
With its evil beady eyes and maniacally jiggling head, the pigeon disappears into the crowd.