Friday, April 20, 2012
Buster looked up, a frown creasing his forehead. It was after dark, and all the pesky crows should be asleep. Yet this one sounded close by, in a tree to the left. He hurried his pace, wanting to get past the row of trees as fast as possible. Where there was one crow, there were others.
A long croak sounded from high above, almost as if it were taunting him. "Get, hellbeast!" he shouted at the top of his lungs. Were it daylight, he'd have hucked a rock, like normal. "Filthy things don't belong here."
The sound chilled him, scared him so much it made him angry. Logically, Buster knew they were only birds. But it wasn't logic that was in control. Irrational loathing of their beady eyes and sooty feathers made him lash out.
His kill count was at thirty-five for the month.
Not that killing them made much of a difference. There were always more crows, like they replenished their numbers from some demon gate. Always watching, always making noise, always wanting his soul.
caw caw caw
Three of them, in different trees, loud and disconcerting. Buster's heart raced. Why were they up this late? Could they even see him in the dark? He wanted to be home and behind locked doors like nothing else.
As he scurried down the road, rustlings and mutterings came from the trees. Far more than three birds. Buster would have sworn there were a thousand nasty crows glaring at him. "Just fuck off!" Too bad he didn't have his .22 pistol with him. Then those pests would leave him alone.
With the sound of a hell chorus, the crows took flight. They were coming for him, finally ready to claim his soul. Buster shrieked and fled, not caring if anyone thought him a coward.
His headlong race didn't last long. A hole caught his foot, sending him crashing to the ground. Buster's head struck a rock, setting stars to dancing before his eyes.
The crows cawed madly, as if cackling at his fall.
Fighting through his dizziness, Buster got to his feet. Knowing he would be attacked at any moment, he stumbled forward, determined to make it home. He wasn't going to be scared by the monster flock circling overhead.
The vicious bird dove at him. Buster swore and dodged to the side. He lost his balance, swerved off the dirt road, and to the edge of a culvert. His heart lodged in his throat as he tried not to fall.
Another bird swooped down at him, and Buster fell. The ditch was deep, full of rocks, and he landed with a sharp crack of his neck. Sobbing and paralyzed, he could only watch as the demon birds descended for their meal. "Now I see...a murder of crows."