The Birds by Daphne du Maurier, 1952
The magic trick:
Taking something typically innocuous and making it terrifying
Welcome to another October of haunted horror stories on the SSMT blog. We start with the woman who authored my favorite scary story from last year’s list: Daphne du Maurier.
Oh man, that scene where our protagonist steps out of the house in the morning and hundreds of birds still as can be just starting him down? Terrifying. So, so creepy. It was creepy in the Hitchcock film. It might be even creepier in this story. I love it. There is very little that is scarier than when the typically harmless become the cause for fear. Birds? Scary? Yep. Big time. And that’s quite a trick on du Maurier’s part.
He stepped into the garden, and as he did so he saw the living birds. The gulls had gone to ride the sea, as they had done before; they sought sea food, and the buoyancy of the tide, before they returned to the attack. Not so the land birds. They waited and watched. Nat saw them, on the hedge-rows, on the soil, crowded in the trees, outside in the field, line upon line of birds, all still, doing nothing,
He went to the end of his small garden. The birds did not move. They went on watching him.