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Dirty Little Bird

Horror begets Horror

By Kelly Sibley Published 2 months ago 10 min read
Top Story - February 2024

I wouldn’t say I was a bad wife.

I cooked, I cleaned, I picked up after him just like all good southern belles should be doing.

Or so I was told that’s what they do.

Funny, it’s always men who tell women what they should or shouldn’t be, if they’re a good woman or not. And then those men get all upset and wound up tight when a woman just wants to choose for herself.

My man chose for me. He told me what I was and was not allowed to be.

That’s before the night my red darkness came.

‘Cause my love’s a dirty little bird, an’ he deserves nothin’ better than what he got!

You know, once, we were in such a depth of love… we drowned in each other. I can still feel his fingers so gentle on my face. All done when I was young and beautiful... instead of old and dulled. The pity is, I don’t remember when his loving touches stopped.

As a good wife, my days used to start the same way. Every morning, butter milk pancakes for us both, strong coffee for him and tea for me. As he read his paper, I’d clean up the kitchen, mop the floor, put on a load of washing, and then off out the front, waiting for Sally to pick me up for work.

Always a kiss on the cheek before I left though.

Looking back… the kisses were empty long before that dirty little bird began sing’n a different song.

We don’t have no kids.

That used to make me feel… less. I was less than I wanted so desperately to be.

Maybe now, having no kids is a good thing, come to think of it.

I liked my job, though; I worked at the grocery store with Sally at the registers. I liked watching the people as they went through. It was like having a small window into their lives.

The things people say when they think you’re a piece of the furniture. Made me smile sometimes.

Sometimes… well… sometimes, when they weren’t kind, I’d break their eggs or put my thumb in something they were gonna eat that night.

I’d laugh about it when I was home making tea. People got what they deserved.

I think I became invisible to him. I became like an old, worn-out chair or couch that you always sit on. It’s always there, waiting to accept you, but as soon as you leave, you forget about it. That’s how my dirty little bird lost me. I was just a discarded stick of furniture. Like the people at work that I serve, I was invisible to him the minute I wasn’t there.

The night my red darkness came, I was working a late shift, you know, trying to earn that little bit more so we could go on holiday. Not far, maybe, just to the ocean, just see each other in a different light. I’ve never seen the sea, so that would have been nice.

Sally dropped me off, an’ by golly, my feet ached so bad.

Stepping in the house, it felt strange.

He should have been there, but… our home was empty and stale.

He’d forgotten me.

No dinner in the microwave or oven.

I guess that’s my fault for not making something before I went to work.

I don’t know what made me look out the back window down to the river that runs through our property. But there the light was, just glowing like a moon on the ground.

A silly little fancy flicked over my mind; I thought, hey, I’ll walk down there and see if he’s caught something, just like when we were young. The river was where we used to… dance.

I didn’t know… I truly did not know; I was on my road of destruction. As soon as I stepped on that overgrown path, there was to be no returning to the before.

Each step took me closer and closer to a blade waiting to be thrust into my beating heart, to the moment of my death, choking and drowning in my own gushin’ blood.

Funny, I never knew till that night - that people could go on livin’ with a dead heart rotting inside of them.


‘Cause there they were.

Lying in the grass.

Her skin glowing like milk in ink.

Him with her.

Drowning in each other.

And there… I… I stood.



Cracking into a million shards as she embraced her little death.

Swaying like the brown grass at my feet.

Backwards and forwards in time with each deathly heartbeat.

As my splintered world fell to the blackened earth, a red darkness slithered out from those razored pieces to stand by my side, smiling as she drew her hot, rasping tongue along my cheek where once his gentle fingers traced.

As I fell into the depths of hell, all bloodied, broken and torn, my dirty little bird sang sweet nothings.

I could’ve, and maybe I should’ve yelled and screamed like a hawk peckin’ at a mouse’s guts. But I just walked away with my red devil whisperin’ in my ear. ‘Time to break what’s his. Time to take his pride. Time to rip his heart asunder. He ain’t nothin’...’ she twisted my face to look into her black eyes as she slowly drawled, ‘but a dirty… little… bird!’

My devil…

My devil…

“Yes”, hissed from my dead lips.

“My love is… just a… dirty… little… bird.”

I watched from the garden shed as his ‘Milk Skin’ lover stood faithfully by his side. His fingers on her face, like they used to be on mine. His lips on her skin.

Both of them lost in their parting sweet sorrows.

And that’s when I recognised her.

Every day, when I’m forgotten, he goes and gets a cup of her coffee. Then, every night, I am the one who picks up his lover’s discarded trash off the counter and puts it in the bin.

Like the good wife, I am.

The good woman I’m forced to be.

Every time they touched… a little bit more of me broke off and fell to the shed’s dirt floor. Thistles of hate and weeds of revenge sprouted from my poisonous shards, growin’ furiously around me, scratchin’ at my soul, pullin’ out my pride and good graces.

My red devil soothingly kissed me in kindness, right on my mouth, right there in the shed. Her fingers lovingly on my skin, delicately caressing my body in a long-forgotten way.

I gave him a little bit of time before going inside.

Just enough for my new love and me to find the solution.

It had been left on a shelf, forgotten and half-used.

Discarded as empty.

Just like me.

But it wasn’t.

It had just enough left in it to buy me freedom.

And from that night on, meal by meal, my devoted red devil lovingly held my hand as we sprinkled revenge.

After a little while, ‘Milk Skin’ drove by the farm sometimes when she longed for a little bit of him, checking if he was by himself. But my love, my dirty little bird, was never left alone again. ‘Cause, for once, I told him what I’d be doin’. No more workin’ at the registers. Told him I was stayin’ home so I could take, ‘special care’ of him.

And by the time my little bird worked out what poisonous deed was goin’ on… Well, it was too late for him!

Finally, he sang his last when all his feathers had fallen from his skin, once bright eyes dulled, beak withered and dried. My dirty bird, my little dirty, dirty bird.

My luscious red darkness and I lay gently on the bed with him as he cooled. Caressing his face and kissing him like I used to. Can’t remember when I stop doing that. Sad, isn’t it when you forget to love the love of your life?

I must say, though, the wonder of being an invisible piece of furniture is that no one gave me a second look once they came to collect him.

My darkness held my hand and whispered sweet nothings to me all the way through the police interview. They told me a little cuckoo had reported her concerns about my love. Oh, how surprised I was. Told the police I had something to confess. Somethin’ I felt so bad about.

My devil kissed my cheek and ran her fingers across my skin, so proud that I’d left that little feather floatin’ in the air. If she could, my devil would have brought me to my own little death right there in the police station.

To the officer in front of me, who saw nothing but a worn-out good woman, I whispered my shame. My love had made a mistake with a woman. But he called it off just before he got sick. I’d never met her, but maybe this complainer was her.

Oh, the sympathetic looks that crossed their faces for this poor, old and empty woman shivering and shaking in front of them.

Did we have Arsenic on the farm?

“Oh no, sir. We don’t have nothing like that. My husband wouldn’t stand for it.”

“Did he drink coffee?”

“Yes, sir, every mornin’! I make buttermilk pancakes for us both, strong coffee for him, tea for me. But he used to like to go to the diner on the highway once or twice a week to buy coffee from there. Expensive, I know, but I don’t mind. He’s such a good man. I go and get him a coffee from there every mornin’, especially,” I paused and wiped a tear from my eye, “I went when he got too sick to go himself. I didn’t like to have anything for myself, because… excuse my manners officer, ‘cause I know this is rude, but that diners dirty! Saw a rat in the car park almost as big as a pig once. Done nearly dropped my man’s coffee.”

My devil bit my finger in delight, makin’ tears well in my eyes from the pain. The officer patted my other hand. What a good Southern wife I was. Poor old thing, still takin’ as if that dirty little bird wasn’t coolin’ in the freezer.

I must confess, I loved watching poor little ‘Milk Skin’ squirming every time I stepped into her filthy rat-infested diner. She was about the only person who saw me. I mean, really saw me. Asking after my man, twisting the knife in my heart over and over again till my entire chest was just… hollowed out!

The last time I went in an’ bought my man his final cup of sin, I hissed at his lover and dove my hand into a cake sit’n on the front counter, squeezing it tight till it was pulp before her eyes. Oh, my devil laughed and kissed me as I walked out dripping sweet icing on her floor. I was seen! I would no longer be forgotten.

People would laugh if they knew how easy it was for us to put that empty packet of sprinkled revenge in a dumpster behind ‘Milk Skin’s’ diner.

The day we watched all the blue lights twinkling like stars on the ground, my red devil clapped and screeched her delight, kissing me, making me whole once more.

The moon won’t be shinin’ on ‘Milk Skin’ for a long time.

After it all, we spread the ashes of my little dirty bird all over the grass by the river as my red devil danced in his dust.

My love truly was a dirty, dirty little bird.

But he is no more, so off to the blue ocean we go.

And now I have no one to tell me what to do. Cause the freedom to make choices is my very own.

I guess some would say I wasn’t a good wife and that I’m a bad woman.

Ya’ all better not say it too loudly, now! My red devil may just hear you, too!

I've republished it because of the graphics change.


About the Creator

Kelly Sibley

I have a dark sense of humour, which pervades most of what I write. I'm dyslexic, which pervades most of what I write. My horror work is performed by Mark Wilhem / Frightening Tales. Pandora's Box of Infinite Stories is growing on Substack

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (13)

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  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!!

  • Blake Booth2 months ago

    Definitely don’t want to mess with Dirty Little Bird. Her transformation was terrifying. I thought you did a great job developing her character. Congratulations on TS.

  • olymoolla2 months ago

    You have written so many beautiful stories your story is admirable please visit my vocal id and read a story please

  • sleepy drafts2 months ago

    This is incredible!!! The narrative voice, the visceral yet delicate details, everything. Congratulations on Top Story!!

  • This reminded me of season 1 of the show, Why Women Kill. I hate cheaters so of course I'm rooting for MC! Way to go, gurl! Loved your story! Congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • This is outstanding! OMGSH!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Awesome!° congratulations on Top Story too!!!💕♥️♥️

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    I will listen to the song later, but I wanted to say how much I liked this one (didn't know that there was so much Mia Goth in you). An excellent and horrifyingly justified tale!

  • Harbor Benassa2 months ago

    Brilliantly written. I love how the grittiness of the narrator’s voice increases throughout the piece. I’m a big fan of how the coffee started out as such a small detail in the beginning only to become pivotal in the end. There are so, so many short stories written about cheating, but I love how you made this one stand out by personifying the main character's reaction to betrayal.

  • Bonnie Bowerman2 months ago

    Wow! Loved it!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby2 months ago

    wow you eviscerated and really delved deep into the human psyche for this haunting and terrifying piece, very impressive work!

  • Reading this for the second time I find myself lingering over the paragraph: "My luscious red darkness and I lay gently on the bed with him as he cooled. Caressing his face and kissing him like I used to. Can’t remember when I stop doing that. Sad, isn’t it when you forget to love the love of your life?" And I wonder how long it had been & if it began for her before it began for him, if he had simply given up before straying. And so the horror grows deeper, more powerful, meaningful..., & shared.

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