The Secret of Pajaro Del Mal – Sunday Photo Fiction

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. This is a bit long for SPF. I apologize for that, but sometimes the muse insists a story be told as it is. This story, about an ancient horror and a great love, begins after the photo.

Genre: Speculative Fiction/Fable

Photo By: Alastair Forbes

The Secret of Pajaro Del Mal

In some cultures El Gato, the cat, sometimes stands on a sleeper’s chest and takes their breath from them. The elders in the little village of Prixana, in a valley at the foot of the Chilean mountains, knew the truth. The one who steals the breath of life was Pajaro Del Mal. The Bird of Darkness.

In the night, Pajaro Del Mal would find the purest of souls, usually infants, and wait until they slept. There, it would clutch at the tiny bodies and pull at their breath until no life remained. At one time, only one child remained in the sorrowful village. Nearly driven to madness, El Senor finally understood how to stop Pajaro Del Mal. He gathered the tearful parents of all who had lost a child and told them his plan to guard his grandson, the only baby remaining in the village. When night fell, El Senor waited in the bell tower. He nearly slipped into slumber when he heard the beating of wings. El Senor, only 44 years at the time was still spry, and he pulled hard on the bell rope, and the warning bell sounded across the town. In moments, everyone in Prixana was awake, charging into the streets with torches. For a moment, everyone saw the dreaded dark bird. They shouted at it, and hurled their torches until the demon, intimidated by the unified people, flew away.

It was the light from the torches and everyone awake, they realized, that saved the last child of Prixana. So every night, El Senor waited and watched in the bell tower. Many more times the bell rang, and the people rushed into the streets. For 50 more years, until El Senor passed into the hands of God, Pajaro Del Mal never took another innocent life.

It was three brujas that selected another to be El Senor. And when he died, the children of the brujas selected another. A century passed and the bell in the tower fell silent. No one ever saw Pajaro Del Mal. It became a myth, a fable to tell ill-mannered children. Soon everyone owned a cell phone and a Facebook account, but no one would listen to the  brujas anymore. The last El Senor died in the arms of his grandson. He told 7-year old Guitamo, “The Bell. It’s the Bell.”

Prixana’s elders insisted on some traditions, and they kept an electric light burning in the bell tower to keep Pajaro Del Mal away, but most just thought it a curious story to tell touristas from America.

Young Guitamo grew to a young man, though a strange one that most shunned like his grandfather, the last El Senor. Guitamo spent many nights in the tower writing poetry and dreaming of older times. Most nights, his nervous disposition kept him awake, unable to sleep. Most people avoided him, but Marina, the most beautiful of all Prixana’s young girls, saw something precious in him. She was gentle and warm of heart, more than any other. When Guitamo read poems to her, she trembled with joy and longing. In time, the two fell in love, and they spent every evening laughing, then kissing in the solitude of the tower.

When everyone was asleep, she brought him tea made from berries that brought slumber. It helped the jittery young man, but one night, Marina drank too much and she fell into a deep sleep in Guitamo’s arms. His eyes were drifting closed when he heard the fluttering of wings. He looked up to see a terrible creature, with a face like a fox and huge ears flicking side to side. It was tall as a man with black-feathered wings it held up menacingly.

Guitamo tried to rouse Marina, but she would not wake. Refusing to leave her side, Guitamo stood up to the monster, knowing he would surely die. The beast carelessly knocked him aside with a powerful wing. The creature stood over sweet, beautiful Marina, and placed its mouth over hers. Her chest fluttered as her breath was taken away. Guitamo attacked with fists again and again, but the creature was too strong.

Then he heard El Senor’s voice in his mind, “The Bell. It’s the Bell!” He looked up at the light in the tower. It was on, but had no effect on Pajaro Del Mal. Desperate to save his love, Guitamo ran into the tower, and pulled on the aged and tattered bell rope.

For the first time in a century, the Bell of Prixana rang across the village. The effect on Pajaro Del Mal was immediate. It shuddered and stumbled back awkwardly, huge ears folding flat against its head. It spread wings to fly, and crashed into several buildings as it escaped. Guitamo ran to his love, and finally Marina opened her eyes. “Guitamo!” she said. “I dreamed of wedding bells.”

Kissing her, Guitamo said, “That was no dream, my love. It was a vision.”

The shunned and strange boy, Guitamo, became the hero of Prixana. He had learned the Secret of Pajaro Del Mal. Better yet, the beautiful and kind Marina became his wife. The village built the couple a cottage beside the bell tower. One year later, three brujas smiled at a week-old “El Senor” who touched a brand new bell rope for the very first time.

Each week, Alastair Forbes presents one of his own photos as a prompt for flash fiction. This is my offering, but there are many more from talented writers across the world. Look here to find them:

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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14 Responses to The Secret of Pajaro Del Mal – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. Lyn says:

    I love this sort of story! It contains faith and courage and love in abundance. You done good Eric 😀


  2. niffjames says:

    Great story. Well written.
    I wanted more.


    • EagleAye says:

      Actually, there is more. I was already well over the word limit for SPF and I was trying to keep it brief. For instance, I imagined on the first pull…the bell rope breaks. And then things get complicated. Glad you enjoyed what’s there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂


      • Al says:

        I wondered why it was a brand new bell rope. I had an image in my mind of this in a book or on film with it raining and him trying his best to save her against all odds


      • EagleAye says:

        Yeah, the old bell rope was rotted and falling apart. No one believed in Pajaro Del Mal any longer so it had fallen into disrepair. From the beginning, no one “really” understand what drove the bird of darkness away, believing it was the light. Guitamo’s revelation that it was the sound of the bell gave the bell tower greater importance. With the realization that Pajaro Del Mal really exists and the bell scares it off, a brand new bell rope was installed.


  3. Pat says:

    Well, this was certainly a wonderful read Eric — and yes, this could certainly use, if wanted, more space and word count to develop further —- but it is a great story just by itself! 🙂


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, Pat. I really did want to write more. It would benefit from a little extra drama and action. I wanted to develop the love affair quite a bit to give it a stronger meaning. But such is life in challenges. Al is kind enough to allow me some leeway. Still, I don’t want to be discourteous to our wonderful host.


      • Pat says:

        Yes, Al is great — and the bonus is, if you do ever decide to work it into something longer, you have 2 for the price of 1! 🙂


  4. Al says:

    Not your usual comedy, something out of your comfort zone and you made a bloody good job of it. Its a great story


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you Al! Yes, different for me in these pages, although I’ve written “fables” like this before. Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” is one of the finest, most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. After mentioning him to someone in another post, it got me thinking about his style. This story emerged in my mind the moment I saw the bell picture. Sometimes stories come straight out of the aether regardless of the normal style of the author. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks so much for your wonderful comments!


  5. Indira says:

    Very sweet story. Very interesting indeed.


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