Another hammer stroke broke the silence.

“Really?” Paul yelled his disgust. That was the third bird to crash into the windows in as many minutes.

The white noise of the pellet stove did little to mute the clang of the unexpected collisions. The pounding of Paul’s heart sympathized. There was nothing like sudden impact to get the blood racing.

“Man dies of avian coronary,” he mumbled. As if writing wasn’t difficult enough. Now he had to contend with kamikaze birds. The last one had rung against his ear not three feet away. Granted the room was lousy with glass: three giant windows, two sliding doors and a couple of skylights. The occasional collision was expected, despite the stickers they had put on as deterrents. The shovel usually made several appearances throughout the year when the contact was fatal.

Bang! Bang!

“What the fuck?” Paul’s head snapped up in time to see the pair of blackbirds careening off. One had hit the slider and the other the metal siding right next to it. He closed his laptop and stood up. Oddity turned to uncertainty as a flickering shadow drew his gaze up to a skylight. A flock of birds sailed by overhead in numbers that were tough to comprehend. He watched as the seconds ticked by and the stream of wings continued. These weren’t migrators either, too close and the wrong color.

Paul drifted toward the sliding doors, seeing other flocks on the move outside. His mind actively registered just how much glass surrounded him. Wingdows. The bastardized word stepped across his mind. He stood at the man sized pane of glass and gawked at the avian aquarium outside. Another bird caromed off the invisible barriers.

“Oh, shit.” Paul saw something sprawled out in the adjacent yard, and he moved to the window for a better look. A blanket of birds pecked at his neighbor, fighting for the rights to the tastiest bits. Paul’s mind was still trying to piece together the madness when Harold Fisker sat up. The birds erupted in a feathery cloud, many lingering, unwilling to give up their prize so easily.

Paul reached for his phone, but the pocket was empty. His eyes flicked over and saw it on the side table, but his gaze turned back to the horror outside. Harold was climbing awkwardly to his feet; a flapping crow was still latched onto one shoulder. The man spun, and eyeless sockets searched.


Paul almost shit himself. It sounded like a condor hammered into the next window over. He stepped back, and his head tilted in confusion. There was a sludgy hand print on the window. When the offending arm crashed against the glass again, spider cracks raced along its length as Paul sprinted toward the back of the house.

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