Friday, 4 February 2011

I'm stepping in - February Femme Fatale No. 4 - by default.

February Femmes Fatales - February 4th

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to and commented on the Femmes Fatales showcase so far. I'm so glad you are enjoying what you read.

Several of you have mentioned the pictures that accompany the stories - they are gorgeous, it's true. I'm afraid I only have the four, so they will rotate - but with slightly different colours and effects - and titles of course. I hope this doesn't disappoint.

It's such a privilege to shuffle in between the plethora of talented women here today. I had four days left to fill so am offering up this number of my own unpublished pieces.

February 4th's slot was for poetry so I'm posting something I wrote a while ago. It isn't horror in the demonic or human sense but rather is a true and terrifying account of a Parliament of Crows (mixed corvids, to be exact) that I witnessed just outside my house, in a very urban street. It is something I will never forget, and haunts me to this day. Nature, for all I splay myself on the ground in her honour, is cruel.

Be Gone by Lily Childs

He hears The Judge.
Feels the judge
circling, hurling taunts, abuse.

Master Crow,
caped wings raised accuses
Junior Jack the Daw, who
ducks the Law Man's

Rook and raven, patchy magpie.
Families attack
the wretched Jack.
Only mother, pale blue eyes
alive with fear
stays her ground, son’s crime unknown.

Jack cowers, crushed
against raw earth.

Darkened feathers stain the air.

Judge caws for
a final verdict.

"Out. Out. Out."

Blackened corvids lunge, encroach.
Young Jack cries.
His mother dies,
a little.

Hurt teenager flees the court,
the screeching, screaming pack.
He daren't look back but leaves,
his blue and tattered cloak scarred
with banishment and
bitter shame.

“Be Gone” went their cruel command.
He’s gone,
broken and hurt
to die beneath a hanging tree
which mother will not find.

He’s gone.
She calls his name, again, once more, again
and yet again,
flaps black wings and flies away.
A cloud, a mist, a spec.
A mother left alone
to mourn her only son.

Lily Childs likes the dark side. If only to balance with the light, you understand. Her short stories have appeared in a handful of small press anthologies including Their Dark Masters: Extreme Vampire Horror.

Lily's fiction and poetry also swim around online where they mix with similar creatures, and with every little trance of every little minute more delicious tales are spawned.


  1. This is a treasure, the experience and the way you executed it (I never would have thought poetry on this, and it worked so well in the style that you used), very cool.

    I can see those birds in combat and hear the caw-caws of the others, and in the end, how is it that much different than ourselves?
    Excellent prose, Lily.

  2. This is a wonderful, haunting poem Lily. The back and forth between "The Parliament" and the mother, and the humanity you show inside those black feathers is amazing.

  3. This is stunning Lily! Like Erin I can see the birds and hear their crowing. And what a tale! Poor Jack and his Mum. This is beautifully written, flows so nicely. I read it through twice - 'darkened feathers stained the air' what a fantastic line! Terrific imagery.
    (The drawing is pretty impressive too!)

  4. Haunting and beautiful at the same time. Stunning, as always.

  5. The cruelty of nature – truly horrifying! I think the thing that really gets to me is the relentlessness, there´s never any hope for mercy.

    I love that you chose to present this as a poem! The way you´ve written it gives me a feeling of Nineteenth century, like a Dickens´ atmosphere – wonderful!

    This: “His mother dies, a little” So sad and so poetic.

    A well crafted tragedy, Lily!

  6. Harsh and haunting, I can sense the silence behind the caw cawing. A brilliant poem, Lily.

  7. Only mother, pale blue eyes
    alive with fear

    This piece was alive with vivid details; they really brought this to life. Amazing. Also the understated, subtle parallels between the birds and us. Really great piece.

    And "His mother dies, a little" is perfection. This is unique poetry, really stand-out.

  8. Hey everybody! FEMME FATALE just happens to be trending hashtag!! so tweet, tweet! :0)

  9. A rich feast of words beautifully assembled, Lily - a stunning insight to the avian universe and its pecking order!

  10. wonderful poem, Lily, with a truly haunting last line.

  11. Thank you everyone for your kind comments.

    Susan, glad you like the drawing, it's a sketch by my husband. As for #femmefatale trending on Twitter, think that's for that Britney woman. Not quite the Femme Fatale that would linger here on the Feardom I hope, but am happy to jump on the hashtag!

  12. Lily, that was great! You're turning me into a poetry lover. Some great lines that created fantastic imagery. Very well written piece!

    (I saw a similar thing once a few years ago, back in Manchester. 2 magpies were trying to rip a blackbird to pieces. I actually stopped my car to scare off the magpies. The balckbird was huddled under a bush just waiting to die. As I drove off, in my rearview mirror I saw the magpies return to finish off their work! Nature, eh?)

  13. That last stanza is especially striking, Lily. Wow. Your work is so enchanting in that Grimm crow-ish nature. Loved this.

  14. You know how much I love your poems because they always have a sense of rhythm, they have an understated staccato feel, and you use pauses and repetition to great effect. I'm never disappointed with a Lily Childs poem.

  15. Excellent work Lily. Crowes have always been a symbol of evil to me, ever since I saw The Omen. They are like Hyena's

  16. excellent work, Lily. The form is exquisite, and impresses with each line.

  17. Truly stunning, evocative and emotional. I was there in the street with them. Wonderful work.

  18. Well, that's tragic! It really is. If I wasn't in the Sixth Form library right now I might actually cry. How sad...beautifully written, though, as always.


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.