Crow Dreams Vibrant
Jamieson Wolf Villeneuve
The crow had returned.
Poppy locked eyes with it through the thin glass of her bedroom window. A shiver always passed down her spine when she saw it and she felt it now; cold, icy. Intoxicating. Even fear could be an aphrodisiac.
She wondered what it wanted from her. It returned to her window ledge day in, day out. It made no sound but a fluttering of wings and black feathers, a rustling of shadows and darkness. Part of her wanted to open the window and let it in, but she was wary to do so. There was something about the crow, perhaps the intelligence in its eyes that chilled her, even as it excited her. In fact, the crow made her slightly horny.
Poppy put her left hand against the glass, palm flat, fingers spread out, as if she could reach through the glass and ruffle the birds' feathers. The crow cocked its head to the right, blinked and began to peck at the glass.
She kept her hand there, hoping, for some unknown reason, that the carrion birds' beak would break through and pierce her skin, the blood from her palm sliding across the glass. She envisioned secrets pouring from it's beak into her bloodstream, filling her head with dreams and visions. She would become a visionary, much like the Delphi Oracle, revealing bits of the future by telling parts of the past.
The crow looked at Poppy with dark red eyes, cawed once and smashed a hole through the glass. It happened so fast; Poppy was shocked to see that her fantasy had come true. She was bleeding from a deep, round gouge that the crows' beak had made in the centre of her palm. The blood trickled down towards her wrist and, without thinking; she put her hand to her mouth and licked the wound.
The crow cawed again. You could hear the wind blowing outside, the sound made more eerie by the hole in the glass. To Poppy, it sounded as if spirits had come to her, whispering their secrets to her, though she could not understand them.
Her hand began to throb and sting as if it had fallen asleep and she had shaken the blood within it. Her blood tasted dark, seductive, sexual. She looked at the blood that now ran down her arm and ran her tongue from elbow to palm in hopes of swallowing, tasting, herself. She felt that she could eat herself whole, from the inside out, revelling in her own blood for the sake of becoming something other than herself.
The throbbing in Poppy's hand dulled and was replaced with a low grade hum. A subtle Mmmmmmmmmmmm that filled her bones with warmth; like honey poured over her skin, Poppy felt as if she were inside a womb, a bubble. Her skin began to grow hot and sweat began to pour off her brow. "What's happening to me?" she said out loud. That sounded cliché, even to her. "What's going on?" No, she thought, that was no better. She would not fare well as a horror movie heroine, she thought wryly.
The hum sounded like the buzzing of bees, or like electricity thumping through her at full volume. Her body seemed to pulsate with that hum, those vibrations. The crow still stared at her with its red eyes. It cawed again, as if to say it knew exactly what was going on.
"Then tell me, damn you." Poppy said. The crow blinked back at her and remained silent. "ANSWER ME!" she screeched, her voice raising several octaves, the smokiness of her voice becoming shrill and crass; until it wasn't a voice at all. She was cawing. With a clarity that bordered on awe, Poppy realized that she was different, that she was changing. She was becoming.
The hum that ran through her body began to scream; pain shot up her arm and slashed into her head with a sound not unlike a police siren. Poppy fell to the ground, clutching her head in her hands, blood now running from her eyes like tears. She felt that her entire body would explode from the inside out.
Make it stop, she thought. It became a mantra, all running together. Makeitstopmakeitstopmakeitstop. And, with a brilliant flash of light, her wish was answered. Poppy opened her eyes to discover everything that had been in colour was now in shades of black and grey and white. It was as if someone had popped out her eyes and placed a black and white television in her sockets instead. The world was devoid of colour.
The crow cawed at her from the windowsill. It smashed it's beak into the glass, making the hole in the pane larger. Her blood decorated the serrated edges of the glass and the crow stuck out its little black tongue and licked, no, savoured her blood.
When the crows tongue made contact with Poppy's blood, a sound, a clack, resounded inside Poppy's head. The world seemed a little bit clearer. A little bit more bearable. Something was different. The wind whistled past the hole in the window. Except now it sounded like music, notes hung in the air falling to the ground and shattering round her. She looked down at herself and cawed in surprise. She had grown feathers. And clawed feet. And she heard voices.
No, that wasn't quite right. It was a voice, repeated a million times. It was as if the owner of the voice didn't know which voice he was comfortable with, or as if the voice itself was surrounded by water. There was a rush of air before the voice spoke.
"...You are angry with me..."
Poppy shook her head and cawed. And realised something else. Much like Alice through the Rabbit-hole, she had changed, became, developed. She was a crow, black winged and raven feathered.
Poppy tried to speak, but could only caw. Then she understood. The voice she was hearing was inside of her head. Inside her.
How can I be angry if I don't even know what's happened? she thought.
"...I have made you into the stuff of dreams... and nightmares..."
"You've transformed me."
"...Because…it was your wish…by the sacrifice of your blood…you have become the stuff of shadows..." The crow said.
"But I didn't ask for this…why did you change me?" Red tears formed in the black feathers around her eyes. They fell to the floor to mingle with the blood that had slipped in amongst the cracks in the floorboards of her room.
"...Through your blood, we are connected... change is necessary in life... but you will always remain what you were... You were chosen..."
"To be a Guardian for the Souls of the Dead."
Poppy had heard tales of crows who were guardians for the souls of those who had died, taking their souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead. The crow saw that she understood and nodded.
"But what about my human form?" The voice in her head had reached a fever pitch.
"...You will learn to change on command…just think on it, breathe your other form, and the change will happen..."
Poppy did this now, stretching her wings, imagining that her feathers were fingers, imagined pushing out of her bird form, forcing the shell of feathers off of her. She watched, in amazement, as shadows lingered slowly across the floor, stretching and bending, twisting themselves in to a parody of flesh. In a flash of light, blood red pain and a screech from her throat, she was herself again. But not herself. She could still hear the rush of air, her connection with the crow forever lodged within her bloodstream.
"...I will come for you tomorrow night..." The crow said. "We have work to do." And with a flutter of black, the crow was gone.
Poppy looked down at her hand. Where the crow had bitten her was a small black mark, shaped like a wing. She approached the glass, and pressed her forehead against it. It was cool against her skin.
The night called to her now. And tomorrow, she would claim it as her own.
Jamieson Wolf Villeneuve is an Ottawa based writer who has had his work published in a variety of magazines, including Slow Trains Literary Journal, Twilight Times, Mytholog, Clean Sheets Erotica and House of Pain.
He has also had his work published in Susan Sarandon: A True Maverick and Fantasies: A Collection of the World's Greatest Short Stories.
You can find out more from his web site - Jamieson Wolf Villeneuve: an online portfolio.
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Published by permission of the author.