The Man and the Crow

This was originally posted on The Vacilando here, please check out his blog. His writing is superb.

This short story is about heartbreak where a crow stumbles upon a couple grieving over their son who has committed an awful crime.

Despite the thick looming overcast, reporters from across the country descended upon the quaint suburban town. Within minutes, all eyes were on this modest two-story home.

A crow noticing the commotion swooped down and perched himself on an open window. Inside, a woman was sitting on a sofa and sobbing into her hands. Her husband was glued to his cellphone. His face contorted with fear as the bright screen flickered across his sullen face.

The crow’s gaze deflected to the sound of drapes flapping in the wind. A window on the second floor was open. He flew to it. The room was ordinary. An unmade bed, a few scattered pieces of clothing, a waste basket filled to the rim, and a messy desk. Then, something twinkled beneath the dozens of loose papers on the desk.

He watched the doorway for movement, but saw only a dark hallway. He hopped onto the bed, walking slowly to its edge. A photo stood on the night stand of a boy holding a rifle in one hand and dead pheasant in the other.

“That’s an ugly kid!”

The crow flapped his wings, startled by the voice. A raven leapt onto the bed as silently as he had flown to the window.

“The boy killed himself,” said the crow expecting compassion.

“I’d kill myself too if I looked like that,” said the raven, “regardless, you shouldn’t be here.”

The crow flew to the desk, “I’m just looking,” his feet tapped against the wood.

“Curiosity killed the dumb crow,” said the raven.

Using his beak, the crow sifted through the papers till he found the shiny object. A golden key.

“Bingo!” yelled the raven.

Once again, the crow was startled. The raven toppled the wastebasket so its contents spilled and splattered onto the carpet. His hooked beak sorted through the trash, but suddenly he stopped.

SQUAWK!

The man from down stairs now stood in the doorway. The birds flapped and fluttered towards the window sill and from there they watched the man.

“I’d fly away too, if I could,” said the man sitting at his son’s desk.

The raven pecked at his curious friend, but the crow wondered what treasures the key kept hidden.

“I don’t know why he did it,” said the father picking up the gold key, “Why did he kill-“ The man began to sob.

The crow squawked hoping it would snap him out of despair. It worked. The man glanced at the key in his palm. As he wiped his cheeks dry, he unlocked the desk. What he found caused him to smile at the crow.

Police sirens blared. The crow could no longer ignore the raven’s urgency. He prepared for flight, but not before glancing back at the man. There was a peculiarity to the man’s grin as though a gun were pressed to his head forcing him to smile. The crow flapped his wings. As he soared into the clouds, a gunshot crackled and, like thunder, the sound was heard across town.


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