Midsummer Century Author:James Blish "...The bird bobbed up and down, its claws clinging to the outermost end of a low branch, cocking its head and flirting its feathers, and occasionally interupting its regard to groom itself... — It was hard to believe that such a thing could be dangerous, but cancaer viruses also came in small packages. Tlam remained frozen for several minutes af... more »ter it had vanished, and theeafter moved with still greater caution, constantly shooting glances from side to side and up and down with a quickness which was in itself almost birdlike. Nor was he wrong; for the next day they saw three more of the sparrow-like birds, and the next day, five. And the morning after that, they emerged from their sleeping burrow to find a smoke-black thing like an enormous crow looking down upon them, just out of club's reach, its head bent, its neck extended until it seemed almost snakelike; its eyes glassy and unblinking.
Memories of Macbeh and ... Poe would have made Martels shudder had he been in his right body, but Tlam was still nominally in charge, and he froze again. For very disparate reasons, neither of the two minds was surprised when the bird's beak parted, it's throat ruffled and pulsed, and it said in a voice like fingernails on a blackboard: