A few miles outside the walls of the Emerald City, out by the edges in the territory of Winkie Country, sleeps a town of diminutive houses--birdhouses, if one is to be more specific--hanging low off the branches in the copse of trees.

It’s difficult to say where exactly the birdhouses came from. The villagers nearby, when     questioned, hesitantly say that perhaps the children put them there, strung them up one by one, but they had always remembered having seen the same birdhouses hanging there, year after year. After a moment, they would pause, and having decided that the phenomena couldn’t truly be explained, would wander away. I have found it to my best interest not to chase down these villagers in pursuit of gleaning more details, however fascinating I might have found it otherwise.

The village of birdhouses remains quiet throughout most of the day, and it is not until night falls that the first stir of life can be seen in those trees. I once watched as it fell dark and saw the gleam of tiny red eyes disappear and reappear with a blink. The eyes belonged to an immense pigeon, its hulking body swathed in an impressive plumage of white feathers. It rarely flies alone. Often, a diminutive canary could be seen at its side, moving and chirping nigh in sync with its great companion. The shadows of other birds are more seen than heard, the quiet flutter of wings disappearing into the night.

Letters are delivered. The villagers never see when, only noticing just at precisely the right moment when it has been replaced with another parcel. But tribute is always demanded, but it a small dish of seeds, or perhaps another little birdhouse to be hanged.

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