Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day Three-Forty-Eight: TARGET ACQUIRED

Two things today, diary. One good, one bad. We'll start with the bad and work our way up.

The animals attacked us several times yesterday, and assaulted us twice overnight. The daytime-to-evening excursions weren't that bad, and the first overnight attack 'round midnight didn't hit us hard, but the one at 3 am… woof. We're in danger of being overrun, and the blasted animals seem to know it.

Edmund and I were on watch at the barricades we've set up near the periphery of town. They're not much more than hastily-constructed bundles of wood fitted with pole-mounted crossbows (which, naturally, I can't fire), but they're nicely lit with twin torches, and with the moon in the sky illuminating the snow we can usually see things coming from quite a distance.

Assuming, you know, those things come from in front of us.

The previous animal attacks had been land attacks, and we were confident that they'd remain land attacks. So Ed and I watched, we chatted a bit, mulled over possible causes for all this shit, and waited for our shift to end. We both looked forward to bed.

Only had an hour left before blissful sleep when the sparrows came at us.

In my experience sparrows are chatty little bastards. They sit in trees and squabble with each other. They're not stealthy birds. So for this giant flock of the little peckers to swoop in FROM BEHIND THE BARRICADE and catch us completely unawares… yeesh.

Edmund took the brunt of the attack, because he was closest to the torches. The sparrows dove at him in a great wave, over a dozen clawing and pecking at his face and chest as they swooped past. A single sparrow nick can't do much, but a ton of 'em at once? Not good. I received similar treatment, though I'm also a bit quicker on the uptake than Edmund, having learned early in my career as a guard to curl up into a ball and wait until danger is gone. Plus, y'know, I have a bit of armour on. Certainly helps when vicious fluffballs are trying to get at your vitals.

The sparrows dove again, again and again, each time trying to get at Edmund's bleeding face. He took a slightly braver stance than me and grabbed one of the torches, using it as a deterrent to drive the sparrows away. This worked to a degree, and it certainly kept us busy, as I joined Edmund in torch-waving. (Guess they don't count as weapons? I knew I wouldn't hit any of the birds… all in the head, diary, all in the head…)

Unfortunately, the birds kept us SO busy that we failed to notice the wave of boars and goats tramping across the field. We didn't have nearly enough time to warn any of the defenders sleeping in Pubton's sparse houses that their help was needed, and by the time the first boar hit the barricade Edmund was a heaving, bloody mess and I'd wet myself three times.

That's when our fortunes changed. That's also when I discovered our way INTO the forest.

When I said we had failed to alert anyone to the attack, I fibbed. Just a little. Fact is, there's one person in Pubton who never sleeps, who's always alert to troubles. Most of the time he passes moodily by 'em, but not this time. No, because of the scope of the mess, he flew right into the middle of the fracas, perhaps intending to cause as much mischief as the animals, probably not knowing that his presence would, in fact, drive them away.

Yep. Philip. Ol' deadhead Philip appeared from nowhere and hovered over our heads as the main wave arrived, pointing and laughing eerily at Edmund and I. He can't talk when he's not around rats, I suppose, but he's plenty good at mocking us anyway. He taunted and taunted, wavering with the torchlight -

- and the animals ran. The sparrows squawked and bailed, the boars squealed and turned back, the goats blinked their crazy horizontal eyes and ran for cover. In moments we were alone again, Edmund and Philip and I, bewildered and pained and, in Philip's case, definitely disappointed. (I don't think he likes Pubton very much.)

Wavering in incoherent irritation, Philip faded away. I helped Edmund into the pub, where Bora patched him up. (Girl's got a good head for medicine if we ever lose June.) Ed's bedridden, and we have double the watch out, some watching the sky, some watching the forest. Can't be too careful.

But I have a plan.

I have an idea.

I just need Philip to help me…

… and I think I know how to get his help.

Poor Ed. He's so scratched up. Hope he recovers soon.


Dragomir the Mayor


  1. Oh sure, suddenly there's birds. Thanks for ruining THE BEST PLAN EVER. Already dug a buncha holes, now they're useless.

    1. You mean you weren't expecting them?

      Dude. Hitchcock's been warning us for years. Whenever I move into a new apartment, after mapping out my Zombie Apocalypse plans, my next priority is preparations for the Bird Apocalypse.

      I own a ball peen hammer. I have never made a damn thing outside of shop class way back in high school. Get at me, Zombies.

  2. Hmm... We need to built some sort of... Net catapult. Catch a flock of them, eat for a week.

  3. I respect wild animals in every regard, and I will rarely venture into the wild without good knowledge of the place. You did a good thing to run, but I am sure running won’t be helpful in other scenarios, such as a bear encounter. See some tips here: