A group of mockingbirds screeched with ugly voices. They created an uneasy feeling on the otherwise quiet residence. She stopped on the sidewalk under the overcast gloom looking into the tree. Its yellow-olive leaves swayed in the breeze, but it felt like the branches were shaking from the breath of the birds. Their little black bodies hopped across the jagged negative space, their voices in continuous chatter, but for what purpose she could not tell, until, before dismissing it as a regular annoyance exemplifying the mockingbird's reputation, a hawk darted from the darkness of the tree with a small bird in its talons.
A sharp-shinned hawk, small and sleek like a falcon, in an instant cut across the street with its prey and disappeared over a roof like a phantom. The mockingbirds continued to chatter, the tree swayed, and she contemplated the ruin of it.
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