Libby A. Smith is a two-time winner of the Little Rock
Free Press' Literary Contest. Besides writing, she is
also a movie and stage actor in the Little Rock area,
including three appearances with The Weekend Theater and
La Petite Roche productions of "The Rocky Horror Show."
Other stories have appeared in
Caliber Comic's "Negative Burn" and "Dominique: Protect
and Serve," Hanthercraft Publications' "Tandra" and "Dragonroc"
universe comics and website, and Shanda Fantasy Art's
She also adapted The Rainbow
Bridge story to poetry form for counted cross stitch
designer Sue Hillis' design "The Story of the Rainbow
This story was
written for a 'challenge' amongst a group of writers who
wanted to surprise Kelly Rowland with 'were' stories.
Although a small werebird seems innocent enough, fans of
Alfred Hitchcock will know to be wary of the concept!
-- Libby Smith
Horror meets satire in Libby Smith's Canary Breath.
Libby A. Smith
Horace C. Pumpernickel loved to sing, and people, at
least adults, loved to hear him sing. Some said he sang
like a canary, a very ironic thing to say considering
Horace’s deep, dark secret.
The other children made fun of Horace, calling him “Mr.
Sing-Song-Sing-A-Long-Canary-Breath.” This made him
very upset. Sometimes he’d even run home crying to his
mother’s arms. “Never mind them,” his Mommy would
reassure him, pointing up to a calendar with each passed
day marked off with a big red X. “It won’t be long
until they get their just reward due to your deep, dark
Horace was a little boy back before home computers.
Video gaming was far in the future. Way back in the
1970s, even television was boring because there were no
DVDs players and few people had VHS players, satellite
television, streaming services, or even cable. Out of
boredom, children back then went outside to play, where
they risked getting skinned knees, bug bites, and heat
stroke. Parents hadn’t realized yet how dangerous it
was to make their children go outside.
“Go outside and play,” Mommy said one day. “Go over to
the park. You can even stay outside after dark because
the sky is completely clear and the moon totally full.”
She winked at him. “Just as it gets dark, sing your
little friends a song. They will learn not to tease.”
So Horace ran down to the park where children were
swinging, going down the slide, and playing on a
merry-go-round. This was before parents knew these
activities might cause broken bones. Just as the sky
darkened enough for the streetlights to come on, Horace
jumped on a picnic table and started to sing.
The children gathered around. Within a few minutes, one
boy started the taunt and others joined in. “Mr.
This time Horace didn’t get upset. This time Horace
didn’t cry. This time Horace just kept singing. As the
light of the moon enveloped him, a transformation
occurred. Being too young to have studied the
Conservation of Mass Theory, he began to shrink. His
clothing fell around him, which could have been
embarrassing if he wasn’t already becoming covered with
girl screamed, “Horace is a werecanary! Run!” The
children’s parents may not have known much about outdoor
safety, but they had warned their children time and time
again about werecanaries. Many had seen them in person
the previous decade, especially at a place called
Horace continued singing, this time really like a
canary, as he attacked. He scratched their cheeks (both
facial and butt in the case of the girls wearing short
dresses), he pecked their eye balls, he even pooped on
Horace sang with joy because the children were getting a
just reward and a taste of his deep, dark secret. He
attacked again and again, so wrapped up in his revenge
that he didn’t notice the neighbor’s tomcat leaping into
the air as only a cat could do.
“Look!” a little androgynous tyke screamed with glee.
“Kitty Kitty has Horace! Yuck! I bet the poor kitty
gets a tummy ache, hairballs even.”
All the children stopped in their tracks, wiping blood
and bird poop from their heads and faces with the back
of their hands. They all grinned in unison…
like the cat who ate the werecanary.