Topical events are always worth researching according to young Mary. She rarely leaves home, apart from attending school, preferring the company of her computer screen. She discovers All Hallows’ Eve combined both Christian and Celtic observances. It was a time when boundaries between the living and the dead were blurred.

A gum wrapper blows through her bedroom window. She peeks out at ghosts, jack-o’-lanterns, and activities in the park. Then, she hears a songbird call.

“Cheep, cheep-cheep.”

Mary crosses the street to find a caged yellow canary. It’s selling cheap, and crying for help, so she buys it.

Mary opens the cage door. It flies around her sunlit room before landing on top of its poopy prison then, raises one claw. Intrigued, Mary wonders what this gesture means. She searches canaries on the internet finding the phrase “canary in a coal mine” referring to a coming crisis. Canaries were used in coal mines to detect toxic fumes. When a canary died, miners knew deadly gases were present.

There’s something about Mary’s canary. She thought it might want food and she forgot to ask if it had a name. Mary fetches corn and offers it to the bird’s raised claw when it lifts its remaining claw, suspending itself in thin air above its coop.

Mary’s hands shake. She scrolls further to discover how it levitates. It’s not a hummingbird because it’s not flapping its wings. She comes across an article revealing canaries don’t like direct sunlight. She draws the blinds. It gradually lowers. It’s dark with the venetians closed so she switches the lamp on. Again, her buddy raises a claw. Again, she offers it treats.

Mary can’t figure how it magically rises. She’d solve this later. She decides to give it a name: Yella, Hover, Sunny, Riser…

Now, it raises both claws staring at her with all-knowing eyes. Immediately, she switches off the lamp. Mary recalls what she’d read about coal mines and dead canaries. Maybe it’s the ghost of a miner’s bird? Terrified, she crawls under her bed covers screaming, “Scary.”

Her avian friend sings, “Trick-or-treat?”

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Hello Andrew, I liked this unusual story of the ghostly miners bird.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
1 year ago

I love how you used the canary and brought in all the historic information in your story, Andrew. It works well and I enjoyed it very much. 🙂

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

I loved how you opened up the story with the facts around All Hallow’s Eve and the lonely girl. The end connected very well with the first part and with the information she found about miners’ canaries.

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Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
1 year ago

I love how the story ends with the overly-used phrase that actually adds an original tone to the tale! A big round of applause to the writer!

Lydia E Atzemian
Lydia E Atzemian(@lydia-e-atzemian)
1 year ago

This is intriguing. I really appreciate when a writer has the capacity to write about bizzare unusual subjects and make it make sense. I felt your passion while reading. An odd experience it was, this piece. Thank you for it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lydia E Atzemian
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Lydia E Atzemian
Lydia E Atzemian(@lydia-e-atzemian)
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Carter

Oh I hope you didn’t misunderstand me. Odd, bizzare and unusual are in my mind very positive comments. I meant nothing negative by them. I actually try to write this way myself. To put it simply what I meant was that your piece was unique in the best way possible.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lydia E Atzemian
Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Hi, Andrew. I love how it starts and how it ends. Also, I love how the cute and magical bird turns to be scary. So lovely and entertaining.

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