Call of the Blackbird
By: David K. Montoya

September 22, 1910

Today I saw them perched up high in a willow tree. They watched as we put my dear Aunt Matilda to rest. Though she was ninety–two years old her death was unexpected, and yet the physicians claimed it was due to natural causes. But I knew better; her passing was no cause of nature, but an act of murder, and the killer's identity I knew all too well.

It was those demons that were in the tree; though they watched from high above, I heard their laughter from their perfect crime. But I knew of their secret, although everyone dismissed it as the senile ramblings of an old man. I knew that the crows were messengers of death and they were there to put my family and me six feet under.

As I was wheeled away from the grave site, I watched as those monstrous creatures ascended back into the sky and headed home—my home.

September 25, 1910

The house had been quiet for a few days now; everyone was still in mourning from the death of my dear aunt. I made a note that there appeared to be more blackbirds that morning. Usually there were a half a dozen or so that flocked around the estate, but when I was rolled into the sitting room I saw them out of the corner window.

There appeared to be two or three dozen of those damned birds. The trees had lost their green hue from the amount of beasts that sat in each—it was as if every leaf on every tree had died and turned black as a winter's night.

I watched for hours. I watch as they plot their next victim; if only I knew who it was… I could protect them, or at best warn them of their coming misfortune.

September 26, 1910

I was unable to sleep last night. The blackbirds cawed until sunrise; I knew it was a warning to their next victim. They would strike soon and take the life of another dear family member, but who—would it be my own life they would come for next?

I found that I now feared for my life. Though I was three decades past my prime, I was not ready to enter into the afterlife which awaited me. I thought of my damned luck—Polio took my legs, and now would the blackbirds take the rest?

I will end this entry early; perhaps I will find slumber in the daylight and be safe from an attack of those wicked beasts that sit outside my home and wait—wait to take their next soul to the underworld.

September 30, 1910

Today I learned that my dear brother Wilbur was quite ill. He had complained of his chest burning for a few days now, and this morning he was too weak to get out of bed and continued to struggle for breath. Were the blackbirds responsible for this? Did they come in the midst of night and hurt my dear brother?

From that, I decided today that I would no longer sleep at night, but instead during the day to be safe from the evil meddling of the killer birds, for I am certain now that they strike at night when we are all most vulnerable.

October 1, 1910

I was told this evening when I awoke that my brother Wilbur appeared to be doing much better and that he was now able to speak and appeared to be on a fast road to recovery. In fact, his nurse said that she would be going home for the evening and return in the morning, since he no longer needed twenty–four hour care.

Finally a bit of good is brought into this household!

October 2, 1910

Poor Wilbur died this morning. His nurse found him blue and lifeless. I think she is starting to see the pattern that I saw for a few weeks. Now I fear for the woman's safety as well as my own. I overheard her say he appeared to have suffocated, but his lungs sounded clear just last night when she left. It was those damned birds! Those monsters took my dear aunt's life and now—now my poor beloved brother's as well!

October 5, 1910

As we all prepared for my beloved brother's burial services, I was quite mortified that there appeared to be a flock of blackbirds which sat on every ledge of our house. Several cawed, but I knew that it was laughter for yet another perfect murder.

I watched them as they followed us to the graveyard; they again perched on the same tree they were in the day we buried my dear Aunt Matilda. A gentle breeze crossed the graveyard as the minister began his eulogy. A smell wafted past us which was a combination of freshly cut grass…and death.

After the services, a few of those damn birds remained to watch my poor brother's body be returned to the Earth. It turned out to be something that would haunt me for the rest of my years. One of the undertaker's ropes snapped and caused the other men to lose balance and they dropped the wooden coffin to the ground. Upon impact, the container burst open and my brother's lifeless body fell into the grave.

It was not so much the sight of his body which disturbed me… it was his face—as if it was frozen in time. The very moment he passed to the other side, his mouth hung open in fear and his brow remained at place in a moment of utter fright. I witnessed the devil's handy work that day and shuddered at what horrid death those monsters had in store for me.

October 13, 1910

This morning I read in the paper that the police found the young and beautiful nurse, Abigail, dead in front of her house. The article said she was strangled to death, but what the reporter found odd was that her mouth was crammed full of black feathers. The author may not have understood, but I did, completely. The young nurse must have brought too much attention to herself about my poor brother's untimely death and those damned birds must have felt her knowledge was too much of a threat for her to continue to live.

She was such a lovely and beautiful creature; a gentle caregiver to the ill. She did not deserve a vicious death… I hope those blackbirds rot in hell for all they have done.

October 17, 1910

I was unable to sleep last at all yesterday. A dozen or so blackbirds sat at my ledge and with their beaks tapped the window ever so lightly. For hours at a time all I heard was, Tick…Tick…Tick…

The others in the house glared at me as if I was insane, as if somehow they heard nothing from the blackbirds! They continued on throughout the night and when my nerves where almost at their weakest point the flock flew away from my window, each cawing in mockery at my emotional torment.

October 18, 1910

I am happy to report that I was allowed by those demonic creatures to sleep last night. Though my mind wanted to wonder to what they were up to, my frail old body demanded rest and before I knew what had happened I woke up with a rooster's crow.

I must admit that I feel rather rejuvenated; perhaps I will travel out to the courtyard today and greet the sun.

October 21, 1910

I just learned that Percy died today. Too upset to elaborate; he was so young—your senile old uncle will remember you, child.

October 22, 1910

I am ready to talk about what happened yesterday. My young nephew Percy died in a plowing accident; he was preparing the harvest when his horse got spooked and flipped the plow on top of the boy, and one of the long blades came loose and it impaled him.

I wheeled myself off to the site of the accident and as I expected, I found several scattered black feathers about the area. It appears that the blackbirds have claimed yet another life for their dark master.

October 23, 1910

Jarvis, the estate's caretaker left today. I begged him not to leave, but he accused me of the murders! I tried to explain that it was in fact the blackbirds that hung overhead, but he scoffed at me and said I was mad.

Those demon birds have turned what little remains of my family against me, and now I am all alone and undoubtedly the final victim of the blackbirds.

I must prepare myself for the final battle, for I refuse to be another soul taken for the devil's amusement.

October 29, 1910

It had been six days since I was left alone with the blackbirds, and though they have not yet attacked, I saw them out my window…flying and rallying the others for our final encounter. The sun is high overhead and I feel that this is the safest time to sleep.

But before I close for the day, I wanted to let you know of my little trap I set this morning at sunrise. I placed a small trap underneath a willow tree in the courtyard. If all goes according to plan, I will dine on blackbird pie for supper.

October 30, 1910

When I woke up today, I realized I over slept. The morning's sun had just ascended into the sky. For a moment, I wondered why the blackbirds didn't come for me while I was asleep. Then I realized as to why: they themselves must have had been in mourning. I pulled myself onto the wheelchair and rolled down to the outside as fast as I could.

Once outside, I rolled up to the willow tree in the courtyard and there one of the beasts hung. It fell for the trap. I rolled up close to the dead bird, and untied it from the tree. I placed it onto my lap and began to wheel myself back inside the house as quickly as I could. I was afraid that the monster would return to life and take its vengeance out on me.

I went into the kitchen and placed the bird on the counter. I began to pluck the feathers from its body until the bird was clean. I sat there for a moment as I admired my handy work, and then to my surprise, the beast began to move. I grabbed a large knife and severed the creature's head. Even decapitated it continued to twitch as blood freely flowed from its neck. It took several moments before the bird finally lay still. I spent the next hour or so preparing my blackbird pie, and not long after I had it in the oven.

At supper I placed the pie on the table and served myself a helping. As I was about to take the first bite, I heard them outside the window. Some tapped on the glass, while others cawed. I let out a laugh at those monsters. “I have victory tonight,” I told them, and then took a bite filled with pleasure.

The birds remained at the window for the duration of my meal. Finally, filled with contempt toward my unwanted dinner guests, I took the final bite of the blackbird pie. I stared at them as I slowly chewed the morsel. The creatures were silent as they watched me finish feasting on their fallen comrade.

After dinner I wheeled myself back to my room. I watched out of the corner of my eye as the beasts followed along from outside. Once I entered my room, I rolled up to the window and saw one single blackbird which sat on the ledge. We stared at each other for some time before the bird squawked and bowed its head in defeat. I told the little demon that I accepted his surrender and to leave in peace. I swore it appeared as if it smiled at me, and then flew away into the night.

That night, I slept sound, as I knew I was victorious against the monstrous blackbirds.

October 31, 1910

I was awakened around three; I heard the call of a blackbird, but when I sat up in bed and glanced toward the window there was no one there. I lay back down and tried to go back to sleep, but when I closed my eyes, I heard it again. At first I ignored it, but the bird continued to cry out. I screamed out for it to leave, that I had won and the fight was over.

It stopped momentarily, until I heard the monster in my ear. It cawed as loud as the beast could. I quickly jumped and attempted to catch the bird because I knew it was somehow inside the house with me and was now next to me. But when I turned toward the blackbird, there was nothing there. I sat there in my bed and glanced around the room, but there was nothing.

Then, I heard the caw once more. It was again in my ear, but how could that have been? My question was answered when my stomach cramped and turned. I heard the beast as it laughed at me from inside my body. Somehow, the little demon reassembled itself inside me and wanted out.

The laughter grew louder by the second and at that moment I knew what had to be done. I pulled myself onto the wheelchair and rolled quickly through the house until I found myself in the kitchen. I needed to remove the blackbird from inside me and kill it once and for all. I wheeled over to the where our knife's were kept and studied each instrument carefully.

Eventually, I decided on the paring knife. I knew the blade was small enough where it would not hurt me and I could extract the animal with ease. I placed the knife on the surface of my stomach, and as the creature continued its insane laughter I plunged the small, sharp steel blade into my belly.

Blood ran from my stomach as I continued to cut and moved the blade along my flesh. Tears flowed down my face as I cut deeper, but I refused to give the bird the satisfaction of hearing me cry out in pain, so I remained silent. Once I had a big enough hole opened, I slid my finger inside to retrieve the monster, but then I realized that the bird was not only inside me, but it was inside my stomach.

I felt it as it moved around inside me, and I knew what I had to do to free myself of the little demon inside me. I plunged my hand inside of me, and against my best efforts not to, I screamed out in unfathomable pain. I felt the bird as it moved around inside my stomach and I grabbed and pulled the organ from my body.

I threw the bag made of skin on the counter, and watched in horror as it twitched around. I needed to move quickly, as I felt warm blood gush from me. I saw the large blade I used earlier to prepare the pie and snatched it up. In a blind frenzy I begin to hack down at the beast that was trapped inside my stomach. Within mere moments, I had chopped the bird into small pieces.

As I sat there, I knew I would no longer hear the call of a blackbird.

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Excerpt from the Ragsdale Gazette.

Police were called to Knolls Convalescent Home, a small, local, eight–bed facility, where they were horrified to find the home's elderly residents and one nurse had been murdered. Decomposing bodies were found in several different bedrooms. The complex was empty of other staff, and officials stated that another dead body found in the kitchen area.

Jasper O'Neil, 86, was found dead in his wheelchair, which was located in the kitchen. It seems he was the murderer's final victim. His stomach was apparently viciously removed from his body and chopped into fine slices on a nearby counter. Close to this grotesque display on the counter was a blood splattered journal that Mr. O'Neil may have been writing in just before his murder.

Anyone with information regarding these crimes should contact the Ragsdale Police Department.

THE END

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