One for Sorrow
Two for Joy
In the summer of 2007 a load of flies started appearing in my house and I established that they were originating from the chimney in the living room. At the time, we had a pretend fire there, but the original chimney brest and such was in tact behind. Years and years ago, we had a problem with flies in our old house, which turned out to be a dead pigeon stuck in the chimney - we we figured the same thing had happened here.
On a mountain of soot behind the fireplace, lay two dead magpies. They were preserved really well. Maggots had cleaned them up good and the way air moves through a chimney had taken any smell away and dried them out.
It's a bit of a mystery why we never heard them struggling.
European black-billed magpies [link]
are, usually, seen in mating pairs... It's said to be unlucky to see just the one. So I guess one fell down and it's mate followed.
I put them in the compost heap, because I'm a little sick. And a year later my mother sifted out their skulls. I cleaned them up in boiling water and bleach.
Coffee, ink, charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper.