Requiem – Friday Fictioneers, April 2020.

Copyright D McIlroy

The rooks had been gathering, even as hunters slashed their way into the heart of the forest.

Now gunfire shatters the early evening silence, and after each volley there’s a moment’s pause before the sound of branches rustling, cracking, giving way beneath the weight of plummeting birds.

Their incessant cawing has turned to screeching until, as culling ceases, a deadly silence prevails.

The hunters withdraw.

And at dusk, a less dense but still unmistakeable parabola of blackness emerges from the tree-tops, curving, undulating, soaring.

A dance of death, a memorial, before heading to the marshlands to roost for the night.

Lovely to have a photo from an old Friday Fictioneer colleague Doug McIlroy this week.  A kind, reflective, gentle man, he’s sorely missed.  Thanks to Rochelle for hosting a welcome respite to the self-isolation that many of us are experiencing.  Stay safe at home, keep well.


About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Requiem – Friday Fictioneers, April 2020.

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Your descriptions put me in the forest. I was the one cowering behind a tree with my fingers in my ears. Well done.



    PS The photo was one of the numerous ones in my folder Doug shared with me over the years…not necessarily meant to be a photo prompt. Who knew he’d resurface? 😉


  2. neilmacdon says:

    Lovely descriptions of the murmuration (yes I know only starlings have a murmuration, but rooks should too)


    • Sandra says:

      Yes, a little artistic licence here. Although actually where we live, every evening at dusk a huge flock of rooks pass over our house, heading to the coast. The noise is deafening, but the sight is spectacular. There isn’t the artistic movement, but they do bank and wheel in spectacular motion. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tannille says:

    Nailed the descriptions. My fav, the dance of death.


  4. Iain Kelly says:

    Great descriptions Sandra


  5. ceayr says:

    This is poetry in its flow and description.
    You do macabre as perfectly as you do everything else.


  6. M K Zebra says:

    Fabulous and elegant description here, as mentioned by the others.


  7. Lynn Love says:

    Oh, I just love this. Your descriptions are beautiful. atmospheric, glorious – I’m there with the birds (and Rochelle!), watching the birds mass and disperse. Just wonderful


    • Sandra says:

      Thanks a lot, Lynn. When we first moved here there was a murmuration of starlings almost every evening over the house. They would fly on to the coast and I kept meaning to go to watch them as they settled. I assumed it was a regular event, but it’s never happened again. Instead we get rooks passing over at dusk. Stunning but not quite so balletic.


  8. Beautiful language, Sandra. Reminds me of falling leaves.


  9. Mike says:

    Now that is just the ticket, I could read this many times,


  10. You created the atmosphere perfectly! The second line is my favourite – such an accurate observation.


    • Sandra says:

      We once moored our boat by a forest and this scene was enacted one evening. It was sickening listening to the crashing and thumping of bird bodies. Devastating. Thanks for reading.


  11. Anita says:

    Right now coronavirus is busy with its dance of death.
    Take care.


  12. Colline says:

    I enjoyed reading this piece. Well written


  13. Gorgeous, evocative writing, Sandra!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  14. You described it perfectly.


  15. pennygadd51 says:

    It would be nice to think that the slaughtered rooks might be commemorated in some way. Great anthropomorphic ghost story!


  16. Dale says:

    What a lovely, evocative read, Sandra. I was right there. You truy are the mistress of the genre!


  17. This is so atmospheric…there is something in this story that reminds me of “Driving your plow over the bones of the death”… it could have been a part of that excellent book.


  18. Nobbinmaug says:

    Wow! Your description is so vivid, I could see the plumage of the birds exploding as they were hit, and that wasn’t even part of your description.


  19. msjadeli says:

    Not sure the details but your story seems connected to the current pandemic and how we are trying to keep our spirits up. Good storytelling, Sandra.


  20. granonine says:

    Sandra, that ominous parabola at the end had me wondering how severely the hunters were going to pay! Chilling, really, in the useless violence.


  21. plaridel says:

    i guess this is what happens as a result of overpopulation. something has to give.


  22. susanmehr says:

    Well penned. 🙂


  23. mscwhyte says:

    Great descriptions, really transported me into the story.


  24. Liz Young says:

    A parabola of blackness will give me nightmares tonight!


  25. Russell says:

    Loved all the description in there!


  26. Great descriptions again, Sandra. Black birds over trees and fields always puts me in mind of some of Van Gogh’s paintings with a darker side.


  27. Indira says:

    Excellent. Beautiful writing, as usual, Sandra. You describe so well. Lockdown for 21 days here. Grateful the internet is working.


  28. draliman says:

    Poetically macabre. I wonder why they’re culling the crows?


  29. I love a rook, just glad they don’t roost anywhere near where I live, they can be messy. Brilliant descriptive piece, loved it


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