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"The Obscure Bird" by Nicholas Royle

"The Obscure Bird" by Nicholas Royle 

This was, besides the opening poem, the opening story to editor Ellen Datlow's latest anthology "Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales." 

What an opening story to an anthology.  Based on what the anthology is about and what Ellen Datlow promises in her introduction this story encompasses all the different elements of the anthology.  There is a subtle darkness to this story that slowly boils to full on darkness. 

A husband, wife, and baby son, live next to old railroad tracks that will soon be demolished and rebuilt for a new train system.  The husband likes to explore the overgrown tracks and look at the ecosystem that has been created from nature and time. 

Slowly, as time passes, the wife starts to see small changes in the husband.  Sleeping patterns change, attitudes change, things just aren't the way they used to be.  Then one night the darkness comes on and the horrible happens. 

I really dug this story, especially, as previously mentioned, as an opening to the anthology.  I really felt the darkness of the story, the mystery surrounding everything, and most important the avian aspect of the story.  This story had it all and hit a brilliant climax at the end.


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