September 23rd, 2010 -- "Night Buzzard"
Timothy turned the heavy key in the lock and lifted the latch on his front door. The ocean salt from the sea had entered the air enough to do a number on the metal hardware. The latch groaned to a click and left the door floating outward into the night.
His arm went out first, guided by the bright square of light in his great uncle's lantern. The sea fog collected in slow, thin sheets on the flake glass and brass of the box lantern as Timothy brought his head and shoulders past the door's threshold. Bravely, he brought a step out onto the dirt and looked around. The smell of ocean rain permeated the soupy black of his front lawn. It was strangely still.
The sounds had been horrible, the loud slapping of soft wings on air, guided by a voiceless and bald wrinkle of a head. He could imagine, worried and from his study, the black beads for eyes, the plain hook beak, the terrible disarray of mottled feathers. What is dead enough on the beach to bring such a blighted bird, he thought, is dead enough to cause any man a substantial and warranted amount squeamishness.
The word blanched the corners of his mind as he stood still as a cricket stirred by noise in the night - "death"!
September 24th, 2010 -- "Sitter"
Carl pulled his sleeves up to his shoulders to let the sun in and pressed his back against the tarred brick of the building's back. His break would end in a minute or two. He'd be back to work in the air conditioning and the bright lights. For now, the slow burn of the sun worked well enough.