And so, somehow, you have fallen through the gaps, and find yourself in the Magpie’s workshop. Lucky for you there was an armchair waiting right where you landed, so no harm done, well, except for that dust cloud you created on impact. Magpie cocks her head around, fixing you with an eye glinting with disapproval, but as the dust settles she shrugs the worst of it from her feathers and turns back to work. It looks like you’ve been let off, this time.

Magpie is bent over a worktable her back blocking her work from view. Disorientated you pluck up the courage to ask where you are. Magpie does not speak, but points with one wing tip to a wooden plaque propped up on a shelf. Walking over to get a better look, the letters seem to swirl and arrange themselves before your eyes.

‘Magpie’s Workshop’ reads the heading in faded, gold print, and below that; ‘ Do not touch anything, but feel free to wander around. Thank you for falling in.’

Looking around the room you see every wall (of which there are eight) is lined with shelves and cabinets. Half open drawers spew colourful scraps of fabric and ribbon, between the jars and books on the shelves uncountable bits of metal and wood of all shapes lurk in every crevice. The worktable itself is overflowing with boxes stacked at precarious angles, scattered tools half hidden under drifts of paper, small mounds of discarded wood shavings, a crusty paint pallet, a gathering of paint pots, and many other things claimed by the gloom beyond the reach of Magpie’s candles. From the ceiling hang half finished projects awaiting their turns, and through the hole in the roof you see a patch of velvet, star-encrusted night.

A series of clinks draws your attention back to Magpie, who is just tapping a freshly cleaned paintbrush against the side of a water jar. She dabs the last of the water from it on an old rag, then lays it in a tray with the others. Satisfied, she stretches, rearranges her feathers, then turns and regards you with a curious one-eyed stare, as though surprised to find you are still there.

She stretches her wings full out, and you instinctively look to the shelves, expecting their contents to be swept, smashing to the ground, but there are no shelves.  You are now standing on your very own doorstep. Magpie takes flight, a faint squawk of laughter echoes on the wind, and soon all that remains of her are a few downy feathers dancing down like snowflakes.


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