Murder Most Fowl – #writephoto

crow

 

Mavis Perkins had always believed in omens.

 

Anything and everything she saw was a portent. That black cat crossing the pavement ahead of her? A sign that her washing machine would soon break down. Butterfly flying in through the window? She must be due a tenner in the lottery. Three magpies perching on the roof of No. 8? Well, then they would soon be expecting a beautiful, bouncing, baby girl.

I saw her one Monday morning watering the hanging baskets by her front door when I was late for work. She gave me a wave and motioned to a stark black bird sitting solemnly in the budding tree between our front gardens.

“See that crow? Omen of death, that is. You best watch yerself, Nigel.”

“I will do Mavis, will do.”

I jumped into my car and reversed off the driveway. As I pulled away, I saw Mavis eyeing the visiting bird with a mixture of fear and apprehension.

 

Every day that week I saw the statuesque crow in the tree, when I left for work in the morning and returning home in the evening. It was odd for sure, but I left it in peace. But as the week progressed, Mavis Perkins became increasingly agitated. She would spy on the bird between the gaps her kitchen blinds. She would play loud noises on her phone in the hope of scaring it off. I even saw her combing her lawn for four-leafed clovers to try to ward off any deathly bad luck. One evening, she came charging out of her house with a broom and shoved it up into the branches.

“Be gone you foul creature!” she huffed, jabbing her broom furiously. “Shoo! Shoo!”

But the crow remained ever still, ever silent, watching her intently.

 

At the weekend, I decided to wash my car despite the somewhat gloomy weather. I paused beneath the leafless tree and the crow cocked his head towards me, staring with his intelligent beady eyes. I nodded curtly to him; he cawed quietly and ruffled his feathers in response. It was the first time I’d seen him move all week.

Ten minutes later, Mavis emerged from her house, car keys jingling in her hands. I saw her glance suspiciously at our avian neighbour.

“Morning Nigel,” she trilled.

“Morning Mavis,” I replied dutifully, “Off out?”

“Just popping to the shops, I’m out of catfood,” she said simply, shooting the crow another wary look.

She got into her little white Fiat and started the engine. To my surprise, the crow took flight with a loud caw like a battle cry. Within moments, more of the birds began to appear on the street. Twenty, then thirty of them swarming in the air. Mavis drove off down the road, oblivious, pursued by the plague of crows. Shrieking, they launched themselves towards the Fiat’s windscreen. I watched in horror and awe as Mavis put her foot down in shock, accelerated, swerved across the road and veered headfirst into the lamppost outside No. 8.

The murder of crows scattered into the grey sky. Death had come for Mavis in the fowl-est way.

 

But then, I guess she should’ve seen it coming.

 

Emma H, age 27, 17/01/2018

 


Written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto “Crow” prompt. To check out the challenge, you can follow the link here:

Thursday photo prompt – Crow #writephoto

For my first #writephoto entry of the year, I opted for a bit of dark humour. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been, but many thanks to Sue for the great prompt 🙂

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The Lookout – #writephoto

lookout

Colyn trudged over the rocky outcrop towards the Lookout, hands jammed in pockets and head bowed against the wailing coastal winds. The sea looked bleak and lifeless, mirroring the dull skies. Hardly a scintillating view to entertain him over the next few hours.

“About time too.”

The watchman on duty eyed Colyn as he entered the cold stone hut. Colyn shrugged.

“If you’re late again, I have no doubt the Commander will have something to say about it. Perhaps he’ll double your hours.”

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Filicide – #writephoto

ebb

We were some of the lucky ones.

I remember staring, horror-struck, as the waves that usually lapped the craggy coastline near our house receded at pace towards the horizon. The briny seaweed clinging to the rocks, coating all in an unpalatable slime-green. The newly-uncovered seabed stretching out for a mile or maybe more. The thought of all that raw, destructive power hurtling westwards, filling my heart with dread. This was Mother Earth unleashing her vengeance upon a hateful and hurtful humankind.

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Tradition – #writephoto

fading

I wandered along the puddle-drenched promenade, head bowed against the bitter coastal breeze, hands jammed firmly in my coat pockets. It was a late winter afternoon and the weather had chopped and changed all day. The last rain shower had chased off the seaside strollers, so I was alone, save for the squawk of a buffeted seagull out at sea.

I sat on a damp bench and gazed out at the horizon. The fading sun was attempting to break through the shapeshifting clouds, sunbeams shining spotlights on patches of the rough grey sea.

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Waiting (a 100-word story)

waiting3

Veronica tapped her lacquered nails on the mahogany table. The wall clock ticked deafeningly in the dim room, lit only by fading candlelight. Shadows flickered over her tight red dress, her glossy brown curls, her painted crimson lips. Her glazed eyes stared at the empty chair opposite and the cold plate of untouched steak and chips.

Today was meant to be a fresh start for their fractured marriage. But she should have known by now that he couldn’t – no, wouldn’t – avoid temptation. She could wait a lifetime and nothing would change.

Veronica rose calmly. She had a bag to pack.

(Word count: 100 words)

Emma H, age 26, 06/09/2017

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Stolen – #writephoto

sight

Jasperine collapsed against the tall stone wall, panting hard. She wanted to keep running, but her burning lungs needed some time to snatch at air, her aching limbs a moment to relax. Otherwise she would never make it.

As her breath steadied, she gently patted her inside jacket pocket, reassured by the firm lump she felt there. But as a flock of startled birds flapped, squawking, into the sky not far away, her relief shattered into fear. Her pursuer was approaching.

Jas perched on her tip-toes to peer through a watch-hole bored in the thick wall behind her. The small opening looked out over the expansive empty field she had traversed not long before. Her only route home was back in that direction, where she would be in plain sight and horribly exposed. The coast appeared to be clear, but for how long? Adalbert was surprisingly fast for a troll of his size; once he got up to speed, with his large strides, he could easily outpace her. And she did not want to be within reach of his spiked truncheon.

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Window Pain – #writephoto

window pain“So, what do you think?”

Matthew flashed his fiancée an enthusiastic smile. A room in an actual castle, with original features, stone walls, king-size bed, booked for a steal on some website. Perfect for their pre-wedding getaway.

Stephanie gave him a reproachful glare and tentatively stepped into the room. There were freezing draughts attacking her from every angle, cobwebs strung from the rickety beams and a carpet of dust on every surface. She creaked over to the window, where the tumultuous storm raging outside was leaking inside beneath the leaded pane. The room’s amber lamps flickered eerily as the gales pummelled the power lines.

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