The view from apartment 95 on the Wednesday afternoon

Gillian O'Shaughnessy

The birds are the first sign, though she doesn't know it yet. She sees them rise like a toss of black confetti and fall as one, shrieking. Something must have spilt on the footpath down below.

She hopes the clamour doesn't wake the baby. Creeping up the hallway, she opens the door, her footsteps as soft as butterfly kisses. She tiptoes across to the cot. The small knitted blanket has been thrown aside, a one-eyed teddy smiles up from the floor. A slight breeze curls around her neck, thin white curtains billow in a ghostly whisper across the open window.