The Crow

The crow circled overhead, black feathers glinting with a purple sheen in the mid-afternoon sun. Innocently you look up, raising your small palm to obscure the white rays of the sun from glaring into your eyes. You watch him make lazy rounds in the sky, the flapping of his wings blurring the distorted shadow on the grass.

The summer wind played with your white dress, playfully flitting around the edges of your skirt. You had been running in the warm summer breeze, the smell of freshly cut grass swimming in the air, melded with the sweet aroma of the lilacs spilling from the open grip in your hand. The miles and miles of emerald green all around you inspired your lone game of tag, chasing the dragonflies under the watchful gaze of the great oak by the pond. You were happy to run under the brilliant blue summer sky, catching warmth from the sun that illuminated the natural red in your long dark brown hair, when suddenly a loud caw called to your attention, echoing in the quiet contentment in the breezy air.

With your childlike curiosity you stepped out from the shady comfort of under the thick bough of the oak, noticing the large, cross-shaped shadow moving swiftly on the ground. You followed the ripping dark splotch with your eyes, wide and intrigued. You step further out from the protection of the tree; its arms sway in protest.

The crow caws again, extending its wings in one sharp, fluid motion, riding on the glide of the wind. He begins to descend, tracing a languid spiral into the air. You edged closer still, until you could look up into the zenith of that spiral, watching the purple shine of the bird's inky black feathers come closer and closer toward you. The crow cawed once more, his shadow circling you on the ground, his body circling you in the air.

The wind caressed your cheeks gently, trying to pull you back from the animal watching you with empty, beady eyes. Behind you, the wind flew through the leaves of the oak, rustling the big forest green leaves in alarm. Thousands of quiet whispers of warning, calling out to you to come back. Its arms swayed again, beckoning you back to safety.

You didn't move. The black bird held you spellbound with its dark gaze, watching you like prey, falling lower and lower to the ground where you stood.

Suddenly, like with a flick of a switch, the warm summer fields around you disappeared. The sun vanished under dark angry clouds, cumulo-nimbus barking deep thunder across the sky. Rolling green fields vanished, fading with cutting proficiency into a deadened crunch, brown and wilted. The warm summer breeze turned into a harsh, biting wind, nipping at your cheeks. You turned toward your protection, the old oak tree by the pond, and gasped, terrified. The once lushly full branches were dry and twiggy; a single, brittle leaf snapping off and falling to the dry dirt at the bottom of the trunk. The pond had dried, a lone, gasping fish flailing helplessly at the bank of the empty hole, jumping and gulping for water until finally it fell silent. It released one final whoosh of air into the suddenly cold, dark sky.

You cried out, scared and horrified and unable to understand what went wrong in such a short amount of time. The crow cawed again. You looked up, and your blood ran cold.

The crow had stopped, ten feet up into the air in front of you, wings suspended out like arms. He regarded you with a dark look, his tiny eyes burning holes into your own. You gasped, and made to run, but he was quicker. The crow swooped down, his talons bared. You ran, as fast as your small legs would take you, but you knew it was in vain. He was coming for you. In your trembling terror you tripped, and now, sprawled helplessly on your back, you knew it was your end.

The crow dove toward you, beak glinting in the white of the lightening crackling into the heavens, letting loose a final, menacing cry, aiming for your heart.

The point of his yellow mouth dug sharply into your chest, blood spraying your clean white dress, running over the sides of your body to spill onto the crusty grass beneath you. You convulsed in pain, black spots dancing around the edges of your vision as the bird gnawed deeper into your flesh, finding your heart. With a feral scream, the crow opened his mouth wide, wide, and wider still, and devoured it whole. Droplets of crimson dripped from the tip of its beak as it regarded the empty husk below its feet, gazing into the glazed, milky eyes of the child on the ground.


The crow cawed again.