David has waited a very long time to see this illustration, he sent me his story back in January! But its been a very difficult one to consider because he does not directly mention the birds. So in the end I opted to try and create something full of menace and threat.
Midnight feathers littered the sandy ground, many destined to be trodden under boot, but one or two still fell, silent and mournful.
The gunshots ricocheted off the saloon, around the brothel, beyond the town hall and ended at the outhouse, where so many things did. Tiny specks of red dotted the wooden structures, colouring a blighted and desperate landscape.
Little remained of this once prospective township; the hopes and dreams of a small, vibrant community shattered in a hailstorm of lead and gunpowder.
They’d descended with the tornado, circling in a torrent of grit and tumbleweeds. Never before had anyone seen a twister the colour of night, blackening the daylight. With every turn, the terror grew, until the populous twisted to match.
Blue eyed settlers darkened until their fears wrought a devilish end to whomever crossed their path. Hands tore, fingers gashed, boot-clad feet stomped and the blood bathed a dry desert town. The children called to their mothers and heard only the shrieks of a creature cursed to obey the call and end life.
For those that might happen upon this scene in days, weeks or even years to come, there would be little to show the love and vibrancy that once filled this outpost.
For want of a little respect, this carnage might never have come to pass - respect for the first men and women, those that hailed the land as a salvation and an honour. But what can you expect of a child, or children in general. What would you have done?
Those tiny toes, lost in giant boots, striding through the desert beyond their back “gardens” and happening upon a sight.
“Touch it, I dare you.”
“What are you, Chicken?”
“What’s the worse than can happen?”
”I’ll kiss you if you do it.”
That did it. A tentative step and then another.
With every movement forth the weather took a turn – blistering, warm, cooler and ultimately chilling.
The skulls sat and waited to be handled, atop spikes and encircled by illegible symbols. The caverns called to the skies and as his fingers faltered to touch, the shrieks came down and all around.
Even if they’d owned-up to their trespass, nothing could be done. The day would still turn to night, life would become death and fleshy heads would still join those long ago food for the carrion creatures of old.
Written by David J. Wing