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Alps. Way back to the guesthouses. July 3, 2014 Thursday. Night

Mary and Paweł decided to return to the guesthouse. They had to complete a section

in the forest. There was another danger waiting for them there. They were both very scared when they heard the hooting of an owl. Paweł comforted Mary.

>It's just an owl.<

>It's a bird,< Mary replied.

>Yes, a bird, but smarter than other birds. Do not be afraid.<

>We have a dog that can scare away a bird by barking,< Paweł said and added after a while. >The owl is about twenty meters away from us.<

>Paweł, do you know what an owl looks like up close?< Mary asked with a trembling voice.

>I saw this in a bird album once. Depends on the species. But the owl, the most common one, is gray and white, has a characteristic slightly square head and yellow and black eyes.>

>But an owl's beak is definitely smaller than an eagle's.< Mary concluded.

> Yes of course. The owl is not a large bird.> Paweł consoled his companion.

When the two reached the edge of the forest, the owl attacked. The bird got its talons tangled in Mary's hair. The woman screamed horribly. Paweł decided to help her. He wanted to scare away the nasty bird. The man caught the owl and tried to untangle Mary's hair from its talon. The owl pecked Paweł on the forehead. After Mary was released, the friends fled to the guest house. There had been no light or electricity in Alpbach for two hours. Nobody knew what caused it. It was two hawks who cut electricity cables in the mountains with their beaks. Mary packed her things and wanted to leave Alpbach immediately. She even called a taxi on her cell phone. The taxi driver told the woman that taxis don't drive at night. So Mary and Paweł decided to wait until morning. Mary called the police and warned about the birds, but the policewoman on duty thought the warning was a stupid joke.

Alpbach. July 4, 2014. The night from Thursday to Friday

Mary woke up from sleep at night in her room at the Schieferstein boarding house. The woman heard scratching on the balcony door. Mary opened the curtains. Then she went out onto the balcony and looked around. It seemed calm, without any threats. After a while, a hawk flew and landed on the balcony, covering the open balcony door to the room. Mary turned and saw the bird in the dark, terrifying darkness. He immediately made a great impression on her. Its wings were grey-black, its beak was yellow, and its talons were white. Mary decided to hide from the bird, so she pushed it slightly with her foot and ran away to Camila's room downstairs. Mary knocked on Camila's door. The woman was not sleeping at that time because she was working hard at night on her latest novel about a golden-haired fairy and vampires. Camila wrote the novel by three candles, because there was no electricity in the entire Alpbach.

>Aren't you going to sleep yet, Miss Mary?< Camila asked.

> I was sleeping. I ran away from the room because there was a hawk lurking on the balcony. Birds are attacking again like old times in Bodega Bay in the United States.< Mary reported.

>It's a bit like in my latest novel. Except, in my book, vampires attack.< Camila said.

>This is not a joke, Miss Camila! This is really happening. First, chickens, a swan, an eagle, an owl and a hawk. They are attacking!< Mary shouted. >Camila, can I stay in your room?<

>Of course, you can sleep in my room. There is an empty bed in the corner. I'll go from the warehouse to get the bedding in a moment.< Camila agreed to Mary's request.

After Camila returned with the sheets, Mary continued her dialogue.

>I wonder if the birds will attack again? And if so, when? Did you Camilo believe what I said about birds?<

>I think so. I have no reason not to believe you, you are an honest person.< Mary praised Camila.

>How are you working on your novel? You write so intensely by candlelight,< Mary said.

>Yes. There has been no electricity for several hours. There is some network failure. You're asking me about a new novel. It's about blood-sucking vampires who kill five people every day. The only salvation is the mermaid, who can produce an elixir from herbs that can neutralize vampires. The action of this horror novel is dynamic and aims to kill the vampires by the hero Olaf, who risks his life by going to the Transylvanian castle. He tricks the vampires into giving him a potion and they die.<

>It's a really scary book, but birds can be scary too.< Mary pointed out with horror.

Alpbach. July 4, 2014 Friday

Despite the morning sun, the next day did not promise to be a joyful one. In the morning, dozens of eagles, hawks, buzzards and falcons flew from the mountains. The birds sat on the roof of the house of Joseph and Marzanna Weber. A significant number of these birds sat on the meadow near Trat Hill. Sinister creatures were lying in wait for people. They were ready to attack. When two tourists came out of Ted's house, the eagles started attacking. One woman was seriously injured on the head by a bird with its beak. The tourists returned home. Trat Hill, where the birds gathered, was inhabited by four families. There were four villas full of tourists. Mary noticed an injured woman in the guest house's living room. She immediately called Camila, Ted and Margareta. She immediately looked out the window. She saw whole flocks of birds that sat on the roof of the neighboring Weber house. Mary said to Ted.

>Mr. Ted. Please dress the woman's wound. You work in a hospital, so you're probably familiar with medical assistance.<

>Margareta. Bring a plaster and hydrogen peroxide!>Ted exclaimed.

>Miss Camila. I need the telephone numbers for the neighboring houses on the Trat hill, for the Alpbach municipal office. You need to call and warn your neighbors and their guests not to leave their homes at all. They should stay inside and cover the windows with curtains so as not to provoke the birds. I'll also call the police,< Mary said.

> Here you go. There are numbers in this notebook. You can call Miss Mary, from the living room phone. The phones work. Also this morning, the electricity was restored and there is light,< Camila said with a smile on her face.

Paweł had had enough of these birds. The man decided not to provoke further attacks and, like all guests, stayed at home. Mary informed him that the birds had gathered on the roof of his guest house. Paweł saw Daniel in the kitchen in the morning and started talking to him.

>Birds sit in a flock. They are not attacking for now.<

>Then maybe they'll go away.> Daniel said ironically.

>They came because they wanted to kill us.< Paweł replied.

> I'm not afraid of any birds. They can't do anything to me. If you want, I can prove it.< Daniel said.  >I'll go outside.<

> Don't do this, please. One tourist from the Schieferstein house was injured. He has a stab wound to his head.<

>Fine, I'll stay at home. But I'm not afraid of any birds,< the young Austrian confessed.

After a few hours, the police arrived at the scene. Two police cars were dispatched to determine the level of threat. The policemen drove away immediately when they saw the birds. They were amazed. They have never seen such a large number of birds of prey - mixed flocks of eagles, hawks, buzzards and falcons. The mayor of Alpbach soon arrived near the Trat hill and was also frightened by this unusual sight. It was decided to call for help from the army.

Austrian soldiers got out of five military vehicles and started shooting at the birds. They hit four individuals. The birds started to flee. Entire herds left the Trat Hill and flew away somewhere beyond the Gratlspitz peak. Residents of nearby properties went outside. Only now has the danger been averted. All the birds left Trat. The mayor soon arrived, congratulated the soldiers, and then knocked on the Weber house. Marzanna opened the door.

>Good morning, Mrs. Marzanna. Please tell your guests that the birds have already left for good?<

>How do you know that they won't come back? Maybe they flew away only for a moment and will come back in an even larger herd,< Marzanna said.

>I'm afraid of these birds. I'm afraid they will come back. My husband, Joseph, and I decided to close the guesthouse for a week and ask all the guests to leave. My family and I are leaving for Brixlegg to visit Joseph's sister Barbara today.<

Paweł, like other Weber guests, had to leave the guest house. He found a spare single room in the neighboring Schieferstein house and moved in close to Mary. Mary initially wanted to leave Alpbach. However, Camila convinced her and Paweł to stay one more day, until tomorrow. The woman was supposed to have a name day party in the evening at the "In corner" restaurant in Alpbach. Camila also invited Mary and Paweł. The young woman expressed joy and faith that the birds had definitely flown away and, in her opinion, they would not return, especially since they were shot at by soldiers.

Alpbach. July 4, 2014 Friday. Evening. Restaurant "In corner"

In the evening, Mary and Paweł went to the "In corner" restaurant to participate in Camila's name day party. The young woman from Alpbach invited many of her friends and colleagues from school. The owner of the restaurant, Mr. Moser, prepared a three-course meal for all invited people: a sandwich with salmon ham, soup and minced cutlet with fries and beetroot. There was also a musical performance by a band that played at weddings and other grand celebrations in Tyrol. Guests sat at four-person tables. Mary sat down opposite the two Sternberg brothers, Camila's former primary school friends from the same class: Rudolf and Maximillian. A conversation began between them and Paweł about birds.

>I heard that Trat Hill was surrounded by birds this morning, and huge birds at that.<  Rudolf said.

>There were eagles among them. I read somewhere on the Internet that eagles have a huge wingspan of over two meters,< Maximillian said.

>I have never seen an eagle up close.< Rudolf admitted.

>I wonder if these birds can kill someone.< Maximillian said.

>Yes. In Bodega Bay in 1963, birds were killing people,< Mary said.

>I think these birds are just hungry and hunting people,< Rudolf said.

>Don't think about the birds now, gentlemen, they have flown away. They are no longer here.< He consoled their Paweł and after a while he turned to Mary. >Eat, Mary. This meal is delicious. Don't like it?<

>I don't really feel like eating. Too many experiences at once. I keep thinking about birds and death.<

>Don't think about death while you live.< Paweł philosophized.

At 9 p.m. the party ended. Birthday girl Camila drank a little too much white wine, so Mary and Paweł decided to walk her home. There was a three-hundred-meter distance from the restaurant  "In corner" to Camila Schieferstein's house on Trat Hill. When the three of them arrived, Mary put Camila on the bed and went to her room. Paweł also took a new room after moving out of the Weber family. The Webers' house was empty because they had left for another town in the afternoon. This was supposed to be the last night of Paweł Kowalski and Mary Brenner before they left Alpbach.

Paweł couldn't sleep. The man looked at the stars and the village of Alpbach at night. The sky was calm. The area was also quiet with no birds. However, it was calm before the storm, because the next day was full of terrifying events. Paweł fell asleep late, but Mary fell asleep immediately after arriving at the guesthouse. The alcohol she drank, white wine, did its job and went to the head of the fifty-year-old American.

Alpbach. July 5, 2014 Saturday.

The nightmare began at 10 am. Birds suddenly flew in from both sides. It was a warm July rain. They were the same birds as the last one on Trat Hill, and they were different, like reinforcements during battle. This time, winged creatures attacked the entire village. Birds banged their beaks on the windows of houses and hotels, fattening them. They bit people on the head, face and back. Most of the inhabitants of Alpbach and their guests remained in the countryside. Only a few were scared of these birds the previous day and left the village in panic. Most did not believe in the attack. The invasion lasted for about an hour, then the birds calmed down and sat on the roofs of the houses in Alpbach. The eagles were the most aggressive. They also kidnapped sheep, bit cows and, above all, people. Injuries to the eyes were particularly dangerous for people. The entire village was full of wounded people and their wine-red blood that oozed from stab wounds caused by birds' beaks.

Winged monsters attacked human heads with their claws, often catching their hair. Some of the birds attacked cars on the road between Alpbach and Reith im Alpbachtal, the only access road between Alpbach and the rest of the world. The hawks jumped on the front hood of moving vehicles and pierced the windows with their beaks. This forced drivers to stop. The birds then attacked people at close range in the face and head with their huge beaks. Traffic was paralyzed on this route.

Mary woke up at ten to 12, and Paweł got out of bed at 12. The birds then stopped attacking the countryside, but still attacked drivers and their cars in the mountains on the access road. Mary then intended to leave Alpbach. They were already packed. Paweł took his black English cocker spaniel, Dude, on a leash. Both German studies friends were ready to go to the postal bus stop, which was located in the middle of the village. Mary and Paweł suddenly saw, while walking along the path towards the village, three eagles sitting next to the path in the meadow.

Paweł said to Mary.

>They're birds again. Look at those eagles, huge. We have to get past them. Walk calmly and slowly. Don't make sudden movements so as not to provoke attacks.<

Mary and Paweł reached the village. Bodies of dead people, murdered by birds with their sharp beaks, lay in the streets. Here and there some wounded people groaned in pain. There was blood everywhere. Mary noticed a little boy alive, standing next to his dead mother. The woman comforted the child and asked him not to cry. The American told him that his mother was definitely in Heaven. The birds sat on the roofs and just observed the surroundings. The two were waiting for the mail bus at the bus stop with other panicked and terrified people. Ten minutes later, at exactly 2 p.m., the bus arrived. The driver got outside the vehicle. Several windows on the bus were broken. The driver then said to the group of people.

>Hop on the bus. We're going to Wörgl. I must tell you that an eagle jumped on my hood and broke my windshield. He wanted to attack me with his beak, but I distracted the bird and threw him a rotisserie chicken on the ground. The bird attacked him and moved out of my way. The bus is missing some windows, but it is operational. So let's go.<

Mary and Paweł got on the bus. Fifteen minutes later they were in Wörgl, and twenty minutes later they were on the train to Vienna. All birds flew from Alpbach on the same day. They never attacked again. They disappeared among the alpine meadows and peaks for good.


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