The Flock of Fear Adventure (Alphabetic 22)

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Blood dripped from the sails like magic rain. Captain Fatbeard’s expedition had ended in disaster. Doves, or rather, pieces of doves continued to land on the deck in soft thuds. Everyone, even those pessimistic from the start were surprised by how badly wrong it had gone.

For as long as his crew could remember, Captain Fatbeard had a particular fetish for tiny birds. Granted, it was not the strangest appetite on board for with Leslie and his eel trousers no one could really compete – but this story’s not about his deviant writhings. However, Fatbeard was so named because he greased the twists of his beard with fat and matted seeds into the locks to attract the attentions of the English countryside birds. It was a difficult matter at sea for he was often divebombed by seagulls (whom he despised) and twas two mates’ responsibility to beat ’em off with sticks.

Jealousy between the little birdies who he kept in the onboard aviary was assured and ye could see the hatred for each other that filled their beady black Beelzebub eyes. Keeping the creatures under lock and key, even though they were in a cage somewhat larger than the orlop deck, probably accounted for their ghastly tempers.

Lard dripped from the captain’s chin as he allowed a pair of tits to nestle against his throat and ransack the fatty plunder. Many’s the time I’ve watched this ritual, and their pecks, though fierce seeming are surprisingly gentle; some’d say affectionate, but I consider the two-legged bastards to be Satan’s own arse feathers. Never before though had I seen the sight that followed. Open was the door, with Fatbeard getting his neck groomed in it – out flew a sharp bright little beast which shot into the sky trilling sharply. Prayed for rain we had, for the bulk of our fresh water went to wetting the birdies, and so the sudden darkening of the skies was a thing of hope. Quizzically I stared at the clouds, for they seemed unlike the grey and spitting lumps from which rain falls – they appeared to be flapping.

Rain it was not. Skirling birds of a thousand varieties fell from the sky, wheeling down upon The Golden Shrike. Their beaks were viciously sharp, and though their bones were hollow their flapping was more than just a distraction for jags o’ shattered wing gashed open throats and hands. Under the hail o’ feathery vengeance the aviary was burst open and the domesticated pretties joined their wild kin in battle.

Veins sprayed from man and bird alike, painting the ship in gory hues. Why I meself had a puffin lodged in me eye socket and saw a robin peck its way through a man’s chest. Crossin’ me heart I hauled round a cannon and loaded it with leadshot and birdfeed. Ye’d not comprehend the speed with which the aerial assault was distracted by the flyin’ seeds – they sought ’em ought and received a battery of leadshot in their gullets.

Zoophiles, such as the poor Captain Fatbeard would be distraught at the buchery; fully half the crew’d been pecked to death but that loss was matched with a ship sticky with blood and feathers. Alas, poor Fatbeard had succumbed to the creatures he loved so fondly in captivity. Birds covered the man’s corpse where he’d tried in vain to hug ’em, only to receive the death that always lurked in their evil unblinking gaze.

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