Thursday, September 3, 2009

Short Story: (Dream)

Written 9/3/09
Critique welcome!
This story is based off of my sister's dream. I have her permission ;)
Sorry it is double spaced...

You keep the crow in your sight—or try to, but its wings flit in and out of your peripheral vision with the speed of a cat’s paw striking a mouse. The crow’s unsteady guidance takes you down a row of uncanny houses, with doors askew and windows irregularly placed, past faceless people with their backs turned, long, drab coats carelessly tossed over their weak bodies. He takes you past all these things repetitively, until at last you reach a building that lords over the rest. It is a stone mansion.

You are inside the mansion, limbs straining horribly to keep the crow in sight; he must be kept in your vision but it tortures your body and your legs do not seem to be your own any longer. A flash of the crow’s black wing near the stony ceiling beckons you to a wooden, spiral staircase in the corner. But now you do not want to follow. You never wanted to follow, and now the little devil wants you to place a bare foot on a step that whimpers with the lightest touch, to climb a staircase that may have been a servant’s more than a century ago. You scream, “No!”

You are almost at the top. It is not quite so frightening now; after all, you have conquered the staircase—you have placed your feet so carefully, you have placed them like you set your mother’s china on Sundays so it would not break and she would not yell, and you are at the top.

The crow rests delicately on the stone window seat. He looks at you.

And he morphs into a man, the type of man that you would pick to be a crow if you had to choose, with sleek black hair and a lithe figure cloaked in the same color. You feel you must know him. In a way, you understand why: he guided you here. But somehow you know him as more than a guide.

The crow-man smiles. He knows you, too. But then he is behind you, touching your hair and you are frightened. So you walk over to the window seat, tripping on your way there, and look outside at the grey sky that holds its fury in check so the row of uncanny houses below might not drown. You let your legs hang down the other side in the open air, and do not fear falling.

“I am glad you made it here. For a time, I thought you might—” the crow-man looks at you as if you were a child. “I thought you might not make it.”

“I don’t understand. I don’t know you.” You do not turn around to meet his eyes when you speak these words, weak and unsure. You know they are not true, but can not grasp why. Perhaps you do not try hard enough to understand; indeed, you’ve been thinking about those uncanny houses and the faceless people. You’ve been thinking of flying out the window. You’ve been thinking of becoming a crow yourself.

And you’ve been thinking so hard that you don’t realize until several minutes have passed that you have not heard a sound. When you turn around, the crow-man is no longer standing and staring at you with that condescending smile. He is crumpled on the floor, his face white with death. Someone grabs your waist from behind and pulls you out the window.

You fall.

But you are not a crow, and you can not fly.