As an author I’m always looking for things that spark my imagination, creating images that can be translated into words. I ran across the article describing the Piasa Bird when I was writing Sacred Secrets. A scene in the book immediately came to mind. If you’ve ever been trapped inside during a snowstorm with howling winds, and odd bumps and bangs in the middle of the night you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. The imagination creates a strong sense of more than just wind. More than just trees slapping against the house or windows. You see the creatures of the night. And that can be terrifying. I thought I’d share one of those bits of imagination with you, and how I used it in Sacred Secrets.
Piasa Bird (pronounced Pie-a-saw), is a local legend in the Alton, Illinois area. In 1673 Father Jacques Marquette, in recording his famous journey down the Mississippi River with Louis Joliet, described the "Piasa" as a birdlike monster painted high on the bluffs along the Mississippi River, where the city of Alton, Illinois now stands. According to the diary, the Piasa "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."
The creature was given its name by the Illini Indians, "The Piasa", meaning a bird that devours men.
EXCERPT – Sacred Secrets
For most it was a typical winter night in North Dakota. Cruel and harsh, with merciless winds. And fierce cold that chilled to the bone.
For others it was the beginning of an ancient battle. The nightmares of tortured minds.
Charity Froste closed her eyes. She could see the huge ugly bird as it descended. Red eyes glowing like the embers of fire. Snow white fangs that devoured everything in its path.
The wind howled, shrieked and sent forth blood-chilling screams. Tree limbs slapped and scraped the sides of the house, like the huge bird’s dagger-like talons. The bones never lied.
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