THUMP – (day 1)


Jim Bronyaur


            Harold opened his crusted eyes and sighed.  It was another present.  Another gift he’d have to stare at, think about, and then get rid of.  That time of the year when the weather fought between cool and cold and rain and snow, when people flocked to stores like hordes of zombies looking for that material love to give…

            “Christmas,” Harold whispered.  He kicked the blanket off himself and walked to the fireplace.  The clock above the mantel had died at 3:17am.  Harold knew there was no way he was going into town any time soon; not until Christmas was over.  He’d have to make do with his old Timex up on his dresser. 

            The fire was out too.  The flaky ash sat in clumps.  Harold sighed again.

            He stumbled into the kitchen and poured a cup of mud-like coffee.  He checked the calendar – December 14. 

            “Not much longer,” he said flicking the date with his finger.  “Then I can get back to normal.”

            He glanced over his shoulder to the back porch.  It was slightly cracked, letting in the horrid odor of all gifts so far. 

            “Let’s add another one.”

            Harold walked to the front door and opened it.  His mind already knew what to expect but when his eyes saw something different, he collapsed.


            It started four years ago.  December 1, Harold opened his front door and found a dead bird at his foot.  The bird was a fat crow.  It had a large cut from its back to its belly and was bleeding on the porch.  On the newspaper of all things.

            Harold didn’t have a cat or a dog… or anything that would be loyal enough to bring a dead animal to his porch.  He kicked the bird off the porch and left the paper there for the paperboy to see the next morning.  The next morning there was a thump on his porch.  He ran to the door hoping to see the paperboy but instead there was another bird.  Another crow.  Half of its body missing. 

            And the pattern continued right up until Christmas morning.  That morning there was no thump but a large pool of blood. 

            Then it stopped.

            Until the following December. 

            Harold reported the occurrences to the authorities but they had nothing to go by.  They told him it was probably a bear or something… or maybe kids messing around.  To them twenty some dead birds weren’t really that important.

            The second time it happened in December, Harold began to be afraid.  The thump, the birds, the blood… twenty five straight days of it.  But on December 26 the porch was clear.  No sounds – no blood.  He noticed too that as the years went on, the objects changed a bit.  The birds got bigger, more mutilated.  A few times there were cats and dogs left at the door too.  Whatever was doing it always kept trying to outdo itself.

            For the third year Harold tried to stay up and wait.  He wanted to catch the person doing this.  He never got his chance at it; he fell asleep every night.  Some nights he swore to himself it was more of a black out than actual sleep. 

He did have a nightmare one night, one with a massive shadow hovering over his entire house.  Pressure built inside his house and all the windows and mirrors began to crack.  Something came flying down his chimney and squashed his fire in a second.  Then a long black arm – or maybe claw – came out of the fireplace and reached for him.  He was awakened by the thump of the next day’s bird on his porch.


            Harold pulled himself up and it took all his will to not scream or vomit.  In that moment he wished more than anything that it was a bird on his porch.  But it wasn’t.  It was a head, a human head.  Harold didn’t know who the person was but that didn’t really matter at that point. 

              There was more blood than ever on his porch.  But this time, it left a trail.  His eyes followed it and it went to a tree.  The blood then climbed the tree.  And finally, after four years, Harold saw it and that’s what it was, an it.  Not a person, but an it. 

            The creature in the tree was black and resemble something like a bird out of a dinosaur book except it had muscular front arms, like a gorilla.  It was a horrid looking creature but its yellow eyes stared right at Harold.  Its mouth was beak shaped too but had criss-crossed jagged teeth coming from the sides. 

            It blinked and then pushed its one arm.  The rest of the person fell to the ground with a bouncing thud.  The creature nodded at Harold.  Harold stepped back inside and closed the door.  He turned and fell against the door.  He heard a tree branch snap and a massive black shadow fell over his house. 

            “What the hell is that?” Harold asked.

            He smiled, trying to joke with himself in his last few moments of life… all he could come up with was a line from a song he hated… on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree…


28 Responses to “THUMP – (day 1)”

  1. A.M.Harte

    Very creepy! A monster partridge? I wonder why it decided to start throwing birds at Harold, what it was about him that drew it to him.

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Thanks for reading – can’t wait to see your story live! 🙂

  2. Angie

    wheee! Starting off the 12 days with a horror story, nice!

    • Jim Bronyaur


  3. Icy Sedgwick

    Partridges are really making up for all of those years being shot as game, aren’t they?

    Awesome suspense building here.

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Indeed Icy! 🙂

  4. Cindy Mantai

    Oh my God, what a creepy Christmas story! I think Tim Burton might be interested in optioning it for a movie 🙂

    • Jim Bronyaur

      haha Cindy – thanks so much!

  5. Tony Noland

    Great way to kick off the song!

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Thanks Tony!

  6. TEC4

    Well, Christmas in Victorian England was traditionally a time for the scary. And that was SCARY! I’ll never look at a dead bird the same again. Wonder why it took so long for the thing to build “up” to people?

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Thanks for reading… Victorian England Christmas, eh? 🙂

  7. Laura Eno

    I agree with Tony! Nothing like a bit of horror… 😉

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Hey Laura! 🙂

  8. Chuck Allen

    I loved it! I did not even see the partridge connection coming until you revealed it at the very end. 🙂

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Thanks Chuck!

  9. Gracie

    Gah… Great story, Jim! This one has that sitting-around-the-campfire (or fireplace bedecked with garlands and stockings) feel. Spooky! 🙂

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Thanks for reading Gracie! 🙂

  10. Patti Larsen

    OMG ickle… LOL great story, Jim… plans to make it longer? We all want to know more!

  11. Susan May

    Excellent creepy start to 12 days!

    I could hear each thump as it happened! I especially liked the ‘yellow eyes and a beak shaped mouth with jagged teeth.’ Yikes!

    Well done.

  12. Carrie Clevenger

    Fitting title. Tump. That sound the bird made when it fell…oh lord. Jim fine tale.

  13. Cecilia Dominic

    When you tweeted that one of the stories was a horror tale, I should’ve figured it would be yours. 🙂 A truly creepy start to the project!


    • Jim Bronyaur

      Mu-hahahaha! 😉

  14. David G Shrock

    That’s my kind of partridge.

    • Jim Bronyaur

      Me too! Thanks for reading!

  15. Eric J. Krause

    Very cool story! Those certainly aren’t presents one wants to receive, but they were better than his ultimate “gift.”

  16. PJ Kaiser

    Nice story, Jim – very scary way to start things off! Too bad it chose his house … 😉

  17. adampb

    You have created a very creepy start to the series (I am beginning late). Sets the shivers going.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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