They started with our children. A shrewd move on their part. Many parents were glad when their child walked calmly into the centre of the flock, rather than chasing, limbs flailing. Some were perturbed that their little livewire now crouched and cooed gently rather than aiming kicks at moth-eaten tail feathers, but no-one suspected anything. It’s not as if mothers and fathers compare their children’s pigeon-kicking activities at the school gates.
When they targeted the elderly, the authorities assumed an environmental cause. Some long-dormant contaminant prompting unprecedented levels of dementia amongst our ageing population. Why should they even consider that the hordes of pensioners smuggling spotted dick out to the care home gardens were doing so at our feathered foes’ behest?
By the time pest control technicians started turning up dead, it was already too late. The first body turned up on the roof of the council house, surrounded by empty traps, skin purpling from ingesting his own poison. Suicide, they said. Nothing suspicious. Then another turned up on the multi-storey car park, another atop the university clock-tower, more on the roofs of supermarkets, shops and private residences.
We do not know whether their mind-control abilities are an evolutionary anomaly, or a man-made experiment gone awry. But if someone did this, if someone created this hell intentionally, we can only hope that they too now suffer in the pigeons’ employ, spending their days removing spikes from roosting spots until their hands are bloody and raw.
Lynda Clark writes strange sci-fi, fantasy and horror. Two of her stories have received Honourable Mentions in the Writers of the Future Contest. She can be found on Twitter complaining about video games and television as @Notagoth.