Monday, January 11, 2010

Entry #124

A Fear Brought Into Perspective
by Nicole E. Hirschi


My grandfather told me about the birds who feast on the dead. His fear of crows seemed at most times, extreme. “Don’t look at them, Shalynn, they bring bad luck,” or “Cover your ears otherwise their hideous cries will steal your soul.” Sometimes, he seemed borderline crazy the way he would do anything to avoid where they were. Attending my grandfather’s funeral, we all laughed at his superstition of the black carrion birds mentioned in the eulogy that was given. Helping clean out his house, I came across some old journals and newspaper clippings in a box under his bed. I took the box outside and sat under the large maple tree in the back yard. Opening a leather journal, I noticed the dates ranging back to late August of 1945 where my grandfather had been a journalist covering events during World War II.

“…today was one of the most horrific I’ve ever seen. I arrived here in Hiroshima last night and didn’t realize how much of a living nightmare it had become. Screams of the unknown filled my ears last night. Today, I arrived where the most destruction had occurred. I was horrified to find that the screams heard last night belong to the thousands of crows feasting on what’s left of the inhabitants…”

I continued to read a few more entries and after finishing the last, in thought, I looked up at the branches and noticed a large crow flying overhead. His fear no longer seemed irrational.

34 comments:

wrath999 said...

Great read.

Aniket said...

We mostly tend to take things on face value and never bother to understand others perspective. And sometimes its too late when we do...

A very good read.

Craig said...

That's a very important lesson, you will never understand someone until you walk in their shoes. Good job.

Bernita said...

Quite possible based on a true story.

Merry Monteleone said...

Wow. Wonderful amount of story in the space of so few words.

Meghan said...

Very emotional. You can suddenly understand the grandfather's feelings. Well done.

illyriataylor said...

thanx for the goosebumps. good twist

Four Dinners said...

WOW! Very powerful writing. Goosebumps is about right!!!

Michael Solender said...

haunting and captivating all at the same time. well done, CJT, well done

laughingwolf said...

last sentence left me confused...

Laurel said...

Chilling visual of the death and chaos.

Deb S said...

Yep, shed the light on his grandpa's fear of crows.

strugglingwriter said...

I like this alot. That first line, "My grandfather told me about the birds who feast on the dead. " is great.

Paul (entry #7)

pjd said...

The grandfather was kind enough not to tell EVERYTHING about the birds that feast on the dead. That could scar a child.

Well written.

kashers said...

I really liked this one, Nicole. No, more than that, I loved it.

The way you've developed the story from a kind of 'silly old grandfather' one into something so poignant, and did so seemingly effortlessly and within so few words is a real tour de force. Hats off to you.

Lee Hughes said...

That delivered a shudder. A grim yet great piece, nice writing.

Kartik said...

This gave me the shivers. But well done!

Jelena said...

The story is well written and it makes you think further, deeper.

Too often we fear the wrong things. It was, after all, humans who served the dinner.

CJT said...

Thank you all for your splendid comments! I did write 2 pieces for this but felt the first wasn't "up to par" and really wanted to do something that was different. I don't know if I achieved that quite so much here, but that was the goal. Thank you, thank you!

Nicole

illyriataylor said...

bone chilling to the core. It still amazes me the harm that we inflict upon ourselves. You captured a horrific part of history in one snapshot.

catvibe said...

Goosebumps. I can hear them...(the crows).

David Barber said...

Spine-tingling CJT. Really enjoyed it.

We're surrounded by 'them' where we are, up here in Scotland. That's why I killed one off in my entry in this comp. :-)

Regards, David.

Rabid Fox said...

A nice little story that hearkens back to that darker time. Good one.

Anonymous said...

The development of this story is excellent, especially how the ending gives validity to what the grandfather had said. Nicely done historical flash. --JT

walter conley said...

Great job, Nicole.

Realistic. Chilling. Great focus from beginning to end.

Walter

truevoid said...

very gripping read. felt like a real story :)

JaneyV said...

This read like you were telling us something very real. Well wrought I thought.

raine said...

Chilling story. Well told.
Agree with Jelena.
The crows were, after all, only the clean-up crew. But I'd say the narrator came away with more than one lesson.

CJT said...

I wanted to write something a little unique, and after writing the first piece that would have been repetitious if I'd have posted it, I decided to do a little research. I found on one specific sight that crows had been mentioned numberous times by journalists who went into Hiroshima and the trama that it caused the journalists to feel... It was rather amazing, so if you were wondering, thats where this piece was inspired from besides Jason's wonderful picture.

Thanks again for your awesome comments, each entry brought a unique writing style with it. I found it hard to decide on my top ten, but I have accomplished it.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Beautiful. I love the way the fear is laughed at until the real reason is known. There's so much we could find out if we only ask.

Excellent.

Aimee Laine said...

Oh wow. I can only imagine. Excellently written. Having a grandfather on the other side of that I remember seeing newspapers and such about making the bomb ... the flip side is just so sad and penetrating.

Chris Eldin said...

I've enjoyed reading these entries immensely, but this is the first one to teach me something new. Extraordinary story, thanks for writing it!

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

Definitely the first line, which is a great hook, and also creates a tone which you keep consistent throughout the piece, which is not easy to do.

Something I Might Tweak
Maybe split the first paragraph into two...a break between her memories of him and the journal which would change those memories.

Louise said...

Great story. Gave me the shivers. What a harrowing sound that must have been.All those crows screaming. There were lots of crows in the area where I went to school as a teen...and I hated them, hated their screaming. It's such a lonely, eerie, disturbing sound at the best of times. And in the context you described, it's just horrific. Very well done.