♫On The Fifth Day of Creepfest, My True Love Gave To Me….♫

♪ A bird –! (and a new contest!)♪

Notice I said A bird and not THE bird….

Yesterday (Day 4) is one that will live in infamy, so we’re not going there… Day 5 was spent driving up and down the Port Saint Nick Road outside Craig looking for birds for the 112th Annual Christmas Bird Count (I think I got that anniversary number right–it was staggering, I remember that!). 167 birds, 15 separate species ended up on our list. Ravens, Eagles, Crows, Mew Gulls, Herring Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, Loons, and more… We saw most of the birds on the water, and as we walked down toward Pit 62 (a gravelly beach). In other places — especially where there were houses — it was quiet. Eerily quiet. Nearly disturbingly quiet.

“Maybe there are too many predators…,” my husband mused.

I blinked. “That would keep them from even singing?”

Maybe … Or maybe they just knew that two people armed with field guides and high powered binoculars were out in the misty rain hunting them down like the … birds… they are. It did make me think about birds in horror lit, though. Everyone knows about The Raven — heck, most of us can quote it at you. Ravens in Alaska, though, are different — and I don’t just mean the folklore and the whole stealing-of-the-sun rap. Ravens are different in different places here — in Fairbanks, the ravens didn’t talk like they do here. One town over from us is a town called Klawock. Listen to the locals pronounce it, and it mostly comes out as “Ko’wok.” What the hell? Well, it’s named for one of the most prevalent sounds ravens make down here. Granted, I have a raven who sits in a tree in my yard and replies, “No!” clear as a bell whenever another bird grouses at him. Some mornings, I just like to go outside with my coffee and listen to “Ko’wok!” Pause. “No!” Pause “Ko…..wok!” Pause. “No!” You get the idea….

Seabirds are not without their place in the genre, too. The albatross–that personification of burden, that mythological vessel of the souls of lost sailors, is a great device. Actually, sailors and fishermen are such a superstitious bunch, it’s easy to see how portentously placed birds give them pause for thought. Gulls have the same effect — especially when the gulls behave strangely; it’s all a matter of perception, especially when you’ve been awake for 18 hours at a stretch…. Then, there’s also the Hitchcock classic The Birds. Based on what was, at the time, hailed as the best horror novella by a living writer, The Birds also drew inspiration from a real-life attack on Monterey in 1961 by deranged seabirds that had ingested contaminated plankton.

So… the next time you’re out and about — whether it’s looking for birds or out at the park or stepping out of your car, look up and around. They’re watching you, and they know more than you think they do ….


A quick writing prompt contest — submit a scene, keep it short and sweet, creepy and disturbing, or funny or, well, you get the idea…. and you could win THIS:


Prompt: He blinked and looked around. “What the hell is up with the birds?” he wondered.


Post your entry here in the comments or email it to: thefishingwidow@akmarshall.com

And enjoy the 12 Days of Creepfest Blog Hop! Check out all the participants! Psst — they’re all there listed in the right side bar. Lots more posts, contests, giveaways, and MORE! Happy Hoppin’!

8 Replies to “♫On The Fifth Day of Creepfest, My True Love Gave To Me….♫”

  1. The rustle of wings, then the pinch of claws.

    It only hurts a little, for just a little while.

    A man, on legs, left behind. Not one of us.

    It only hurts a little, for just a little while.

    The wind will toss us, lift us, a dance behind the veil.

    It only hurts a little, for just a little while.

    Blood like wine, like water, fly

    It only hurts a little, for just a little while

  2. Oh my, that is an *awesome* prize! I must play:


    The ravens circled his splayed body. Ed sat up and watched the birds continue to fly around him as if awaiting a meal. One broke off from the others and touched down at his feet. It cocked its head. Ed did the same.

    The raven squawked, “Nevermore.”

    “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

    The raven hopped a little closer. “Don’t be like that, dude.”


    “What. Do I really have to stick to the script?”

    “Um. Huh?”

    The raven looked up at the others in the sky. “Looks like we’ve got a real winner down here.” One by one the flying ravens landed, encircling Ed. They spoke at random while Ed swiveled his head around trying to keep track.

    “He has no idea.”

    “None whatsoever.”

    “Poor dolt.”

    “I want his eyes!”

    “Steve! Quiet down.”

    The main raven hopped even closer, now between Ed’s knees. “Don’t listen to Steve. No one is going to eat your eyes.”


    A motley Raven—straight from an 80’s movie it would seem— cackled in response. Ed thought he certainly looked like the type of bird that would eat his eyeballs.

    The head raven said, “Well? Do you have anything to say for yourself?”


    The raven flapped a wing to the right. Ed looked over and saw a shotgun and discharged shells. Some other ravens turned and pointed off in the distance with their beaks. Off near some trees lay a bundle of feathers.

    The main raven said, “Why would you do that? Are you really going to eat a raven?”

    Ed shook his head. Was that something loose inside his skull he heard rattling around. Probably his brain. Certainly he was dreaming. Or dead. Or something.

    The raven was now the one to shake his head. “Hopeless. “ He hopped ever closer and uttered, “Nevermore.”

    The ravens closed in. Dozens landed on Ed and grasped his clothes with their tiny talons. The sky grew black with hundreds more, and in what seemed an instant, Ed was airborne, carried away by an unkindness of ravens.

    Steve cawed to Ed as they flew away, “Soon, you’ll wish I did eat your eyes.”

  3. He blinked and looked around. “What the hell is up with the birds?” he wondered.

    The sidewalk was littered with hundreds of bird carcasses as their breathern wheeled and squawked above. Some terrified birds flapped as the others bombed them. The others, the ruffled and damaged looking birds refused to pull up, and plummeted into cement.

    Travis Johansson sought the cover of a gas station’s metal awning as the hail of bird debris rained down. The bird screams, like a caw of a crow, drooled on. Some birds escaped, flying in different directions away from the deadly flock. Others after being attacked, would lose coordination, attack the others, and fall.

    Travis stared at the sky, peeking out to fall back when one fell to close. It wasn’t until he felt something peaking at his shoe, that he had the realization.

    This zombie apocalypse didn’t start with people.

  4. LOL! @ Anthony’s tale! I’m really too brain dead to write one, but I’m touring all the blogs and tweeting them. Thanks for making this hop rock!

  5. A flock of pigeons swarmed overhead. There were hundreds, and they blocked out the shining summer sun with their tireless flight. The sound of their collective wings fluttered through the air–a sound both terrible and fascinating. The normally docile and ground-feeding birds were worked into a frenzy.

    He froze and looked up at them. A pigeon with glowing red eyes swooped over his read, causing him to duck and cover his head with his hands. A warm, thick ooze coated his hands. He looked for something to wipe off the spreading stain with, because he didn’t want his good suit to be ruined.

    Another pigeon broke from the flock, its gentle cooing belied its angry eyes. He was hit by another generous puddle of excrement.

    “Get away from me!” he screamed after the fleeing bird.

    With the sound of his voice, the flock slowed, and the sky was filled by their nightmarish red eyes. He turned to run, but they were too fast.

    One after another, they coated him in their payload. Like cement, it coated his limbs until they were useless, his best suit turned into a heavy tomb.

    He gasped for breath as their relentless deification continued. His eyes could not open, and his arm was glued fast to the ground where he had fallen. Each new splash cut off his air a little more, until he was no longer able to breathe at all.

  6. Great contest Amy!
    My current WIP actually has a lot of Ravens in it so I loved the post…
    Been great hopping with you 🙂
    – Kim
    creeping from “Wrestling the Muse”

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