Kevin glanced out of the window as a magpie landed in the neighbour’s garden.

He quickly turned away, but the fear had already set in and Kevin dragged himself back to the window.

The bird was pecking at the ground, trying its luck in the cracks between the patio stones. Kevin pressed his face against the glass while he scanned the trees for another.

After a few minutes, the magpie took off over the neighbouring houses. Kevin swallowed hard as he watched it disappear behind the rooftops. Then he walked steadily down the corridor towards the front door.

As Kevin passed the kitchen, his head turned involuntarily towards the oven. He stopped and stared at the display. It was off. He was sure of it.

Kevin had almost reached the door before he sprung back to the kitchen like he was tied to it with elastic. Nothing. It was definitely off.

His damp fingers fumbled with the latch while a frenzy of other unchecked disasters threatened to take hold.

As he opened the door, Kevin saw movement overhead. Two birds. He couldn’t be sure if they were magpies or not. He took a long breath. They would just have to do.