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Every Day Another One

Writing Battle November 2023 Challenge

By Gillian CorsiattoPublished 7 months ago 8 min read
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On the first day of October, Brooke did what she did on any other day for the past month, and walked to school. Brooke, now nineteen years old, dropped out of high school at only sixteen. She regretted this detrimental decision on the daily. Since September, Brooke had been enrolled in classes in an outreach school for students just like her who were trying to work towards their GED. With dreams of maybe going to college one day, Brooke pursued her education in this alternative school in a way that she had never pursued any education since the first few years of elementary school. Back then, her parents were still together and she still lived in a nice house. It had a basement and a yard, and she even had her own bedroom. When her parents split, all of that was taken away.

Like any underprivileged kid, Brooke grew up. Legally, she was now an adult. Though she didn’t have a car, getting her drivers license was another goal she had been meaning to pursue. Walking to school so far had been okay but she dreaded the thought of winter coming and having to trudge through snow with a frostbitten nose and ears.

As she walked, she kept her chin up high and her face towards the sun. Her hands were in her pockets and she was more or less zoned out from the world around her. Then, from underneath one of her feet, there was an uncomfortable crunching noise. She paused and scrunched her nose, perplexed. What had she stepped on?

When she looked down, she moved her foot to reveal a dead bird. It looked perhaps like it had been attacked by another animal. Its eyes were still open in a gruesome and disturbing way and some of its entrails were outside of its body. It appeared to have been ripped open right near the rib cage. Maybe a stray cat was responsible. It clearly hadn’t simply just died organically. Something had killed it. Brooke curled her lip in disgust as she kicked the dead animal off of the sidewalk so hopefully no one else would step on it. She felt a pang of nausea when the bird did not go all in one piece and it was slightly smeared across the concrete as she pushed at it with her foot. She cringed and stepped away from the repulsive scene below her and carried on her walk.

The following day, on the second of October, she came upon a second dead bird. Its untimely death seemed to mirror the dead bird from the previous day in a way that was almost suspicious. On the third of October, there was another one. On the fourth, another one yet again. On the fifth, Brooke was beginning to feel creeped out and even slightly paranoid and unsafe. As she continued her trek to school, she glanced around nervously and quickened her pace.

On the sixth of October, after six days of dead bird sightings, Brooke took her seat next to one of her classmates, Ian. Immediately, he noticed that she was tense in her neck and shoulders yet her hands were fidgety and shaky.

“Everything okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, yeah, all good, sorry,” she replied, “didn’t mean to freak you out.”

“Your discomfort is contagious,” he said, “I can’t help it.”

“Okay, truth is I’ve been seeing a bunch of dead birds lately. It’s at the point now where it can no longer be a coincidence.”

Ian nodded. “Right, on the north end of town? I’ve been seeing them too. One a day. Always with their guts hanging out or their eyeballs popped out or something.”

Brooke lived quite close to the school. Both the school and her home were quite opposite from the north end of town.

“No,” she said, “right around here.”

“Weird,” replied Ian.

For the next few weeks, Ian and Brooke compared dead bird stories each day when they arrived at school. Both of them had been finding one new dead bird every day. Ian was the typical laid back stoner kind of guy and didn’t seem to carry much concern over the situation. Brooke, however, was increasingly growing more and more paranoid.

On October thirtieth, one day before Halloween, Brooke and Ian sat down next to each other. For the thirtieth day in a row, both had found another bird carcass in their respective ends of town. Ian was laughing it off, somewhat amused by the situation. Brooke was completely unable to hide her disdain.

“You know what?” Ian said, “I wonder if maybe it’s some sort of Halloween prank.”

Brooke was not convinced.

“Think about it,” he said, “tomorrow is Halloween and this all started on the first day of October. Hear me out, see. I think tomorrow it’s really going to ramp up, and then once November comes, it’ll all be over.”

Brooke, still unconvinced, turned her face away from Ian.

“I’m telling you,” he reiterated, “it’s a Halloween prank.”

Though Brooke tried to brush off his theory and focus on her math assignments, her mind examined his theory and she couldn’t decide whether she found it more comforting or more concerning. When Ian stepped out for a smoke break, Brooke gathered her belongings and sat elsewhere. Ian probably wasn’t doing much to alleviate the nervousness she was feeling and she felt that it was safer, for the time being, to maybe steer clear of the chill stoner guy.

The following day was Halloween. When Brooke woke up, her throat was sore. Figuring she may be ill, she resolved to take the day off of school. As long as she drank some tea and took the day to rest, she could be back at it again tomorrow, when Halloween was over and November was in its early stages. Somehow she felt comforted by this illness and thinking of a day away from classes and Ian was a thought that felt soothing to think about.

Her phone buzzed against her hip. She pulled it out from her pocket. “Hello?” she said.

“Hey, it’s Ian. Where are you? You coming?”

Brooke coughed into the phone. “No,” she said, “I’m sick. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Oh, okay,” replied Ian, “well, what are your plans for Halloween tonight?”

“Nothing, I’m sick,” she reiterated.

“Right, okay. Well, feel better soon.”

“Okay, thanks Ian.”

“See ya’.”

“Bye.”

She ended the phone call.

Seconds later, it started to buzz again. This time the number was not one she had saved in her phone, so she declined the call. When it called back, she declined again. This repeated four times before it stopped calling back. No voicemails were left so it couldn’t have been all that important.

She sat down on her unmade bed, tea in hand. She dreaded the thought of Halloween later and was in no mood to deal with rowdy kids trick or treating around the neighborhood which she wished could be just as quiet as it was any other night. Halloween only comes once a year, however, and she knew she had no means of changing that. After finishing the last of the tea, she set the empty cup on her bedside table and snuggled back into bed. Within minutes, she was asleep.

Back at the school, Ian focused diligently on his assignments, but his attention quickly turned to his phone buzzing in his pocket. An unknown number was calling him. He answered without hesitation.

“Hi, who is this?” he asked.

No human voice responded but he could hear what sounded like a crow cawing. He listened intently, confused but intrigued. The crow’s caws then morphed into a loud screech as if the bird was suddenly startled or hurt, then some gurgling sounds proceeded until all sound was gone. Then, whoever was on the phone with him ended the call.

For Ian, the day after the mysterious phone call was uneventful, and he went home excited for the Halloween festivities to ensue. A plump pumpkin waited for him with various carving tools and a large bowl beside it. He had cleared off the table he usually used for mealtimes just for this event.

The pumpkin’s carved face was sloppy and hastily done but two eyes and a mouth were apparent. The next step was to light a candle to put inside and then set it out on the porch.

Back at Brooke’s house, she woke up from her nap feeling even worse than before. The soreness in her throat had radiated to all over her head, neck, and chest. She coughed and cringed in pain. Another cup of tea was in order.

Ian set his pumpkin out on the front step.

Brooke took a drink of her tea.

Ian’s doorbell rang.

Brooke’s phone buzzed.

Ian answered the door.

Brooke answered the phone.

No one was at the door.

No one was on the line.

Ian closed the door.

Brooke ended the call.

Ian’s phone buzzed.

Brooke was startled by a knock at her door.

Ian answered the phone.

Brooke answered the door.

No one was on the phone.

No one was at the door.

Ian ended the call.

Brooke closed the door.

A bird flew into Brooke’s window, startling her.

A bird flew into Ian’s window, startling him.

Brooke closed the blinds so she couldn’t see out of the window.

Ian went outside to check on the bird.

Another bird hit Brooke’s window.

Ian reached down to pick up the badly injured bird.

Again, a bird hit Brooke’s window. This time it hit so hard that she heard the glass splintering behind the closed blinds.

Ian held the bird as it took its last breath. Then, it fell apart in his hand. He dropped it in disgust and surprise. Blood, feathers, and entrails were smeared on his hands, making him feel unclean.

Brooke opened the blinds to survey the damage on the window.

Ian rushed inside to wash his hands.

Outside of Brooke’s window, several trick-or-treaters could be seen approaching the house. They rang the doorbell. “Trick or treat,” they said. Brooke answered the door and apologized that she had no candy to give them but wished them a fun and safe night. Their disappointed faces turned around and walked away. While leaving, one of the children picked up a dead bird on the sidewalk. He set it in his treat basket.

Brooke locked the door and turned off the lights. She elected to act like she wasn’t home and not answer the door for the rest of the night. Her phone buzzed. She didn’t take a look at the screen to see who it was. She simply accepted the call and held the phone up to her ear. “Hello?” she said.

A crow cawed.

“Who is this?” she asked.

On the other line, a voice could be heard. It sounded like the voice of a parrot trying to mimic a human’s voice. “Trick or treat,” it said.

The line went dead.

Short Story
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About the Creator

Gillian Corsiatto

Author of Duck Light and avid musical theatre lover. Love writing spooky stuff and funny stuff 😈🥸

My website is www.gilliancorsiatto.ca

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