Darlene Foster's Blog

As the Crow Flies

Posted on: September 26, 2018

Stevie Turner is running another short story competition for the month of September over on her blog. The deadline is September 27, so there are still a few more days to enter so why not give it a try and submit something. Here are the details.

This is my entry.

Inge's Denmark photo

photo by Inge Bessmann Norris

As the Crow Flies

by Darlene Foster

A multitude of crows sprang from the misty marshland like bullets fired from a Winchester rifle. Their sorrowful caws fell on deaf ears. The smell of death rose with their nefarious wings as they vanished into the low-lying, ominous clouds.

Leasha absently followed the familiar path. She could have walked it with her eyes closed like she did when she was a child. When she danced happily along the path she loved so much, making up stories in her head and believing her handsome prince would come around a corner any minute.

Before her mother went missing and her father went mad. Before her brothers went to college and her sister moved to the States. She alone remained on the home farm tucked in among the fenlands.

Someone had to be there in case Mother returned.

She looked up at the darkening sky to see crows swarming. She ducked as they whooshed over her. Never before had she seen so many at one time. Trying to recall the collective term for crows, she bent down again, holding her hands over her head as they zoomed by once more.

The crows flew into the marsh, landing in a cluster. Leasha stared at the black mass with raised eyebrows. A whiff of decay drifted her way. She left the path and crept closer.

Feeling her way in the soggy bog, her heart thundered and her breath caught in her throat. She was never allowed off the path. But the crows summoned her.

The crows shrieked louder. The dank, fetid smell grew stronger. She drew nearer.

Images of her mother flashed before her. That last day. Her mother at the sink washing the breakfast dishes, so pretty in her red and white checked shirt-waist dress. Leasha shook her head to erase the image from her mind. It hurt too much.

“I’m going for a walk,” she shouted as she skipped out the door.

“Be careful and stay on the path,” her mother warned, as always.

“Don’t worry. I will.”

She got caught in a sudden rain shower and found refuge by a large rock. When she arrived home everyone was waiting for her. Everyone but her mother. Her lovely mother who had gone to look for her but never came back.

Leasha squeezed her eyes shut and brushed a tear from her cheek. She opened her eyes and saw it. A piece of red and white checked cloth in the beak of a wicked crow.

“Where did you get that?” she shouted as she stumbled after the pilferer, her water laden hiking boots heavy and cumbersome.

She fell face first in the slimy mud. She reached for the reeds to hoist herself up. They parted revealing the myriad of crows. Crows resting on bones. Bones partially covered with a grimy ripped red and white dress.

Leasha choked back a scream.

Mother had returned as she knew she would.

She remembered the term.

A murder of crows.



47 Responses to "As the Crow Flies"

Great story Darlene! I loved it! ❤

Ohhhhh—- perfect short story!!!!!

That was powerful! You packed a lot in a few words.

Thanks, Anne. Short stories can be harder than a book.

Yikes! Brilliantly written with terrific dark atmosphere – so much within the short story. Despite the warmth in the house I feel the onset of shivers after reading this! Well done, Darlene! Btw I had to smile at the use of one my favourite words … ominous! It never fails! Good luck with the competition!

A huge compliment coming from you! Thanks so much. I have always like the word ominous and try not to overuse it.

Thank you Darlene, for the shout-out to my story competition and for submitting your story.

You are so welcome. I wanted to get it out a bit earlier but you know…

Beautifully written, Darlene. I love the way you set the scene as a warning and anticipatipn of what lay ahead. It just couldn’t be a happy ending. It reminded me of assisting my students with their collective nouns. The one I learned from that day was a barrel of monkeys!

My students always enjoyed the collective noun exercises too. Also, names for baby animals is another good one. Who knew a baby rat was called a kitten? So pleased you enjoyed the short story.

Yes, I knew about baby rats being called kittens: the wonders of the English language! One of my treasured possessions I just couldn’t leave behind is my Thesaurus dictionary: I used to have such a laugh with it when I was a student! 👍

Very captivating Darlene, good luck with the entry. 🙂

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

Great storytelling Darlene! I could see and feel it all! Ominous! Also makes me wish for a sequel, to answer all the questions I have.

Short stories are tricky as you can’t answer all the questions. Glad you liked it!

What a dark and thrilling short story, Darlene. You captured the atmosphere so well. I loved the ending – one that I never saw coming.
Good luck in the competition.

Thanks, Hugh. I appreciate the feedback.

Oh that is heart-breaking, Darlene. I am so sad for this girl.

If a story effects emotion, it has done its job. Thanks!

A terrific story Darlene. Well done. 🌼

Very nice, Darlene!

Something different from me. Pleased you liked it! xo

I enjoyed this story, Darlene. It was very sad though.

Glad you liked it. Some stories are sad. It is a bit different for me but it’s good to stretch the creative muscles.

Wow! What a powerful, heartfelt story, Darlene. Just wow!!

That was the effect I was looking for. Thanks!

You are welcome, Darlene! 🙂

That is chilling! Very well written! Good luck!

Thank you, Patricia. I appreciate your feedback.

You created atmosphere and produced an easily pictured setting with so few words, great job.

That means a lot to me. Thanks!

I am covered in goosebumps Darlene! A suspenseful and chilling story. Brilliantly written!

Goosebumps? Then it worked. Thanks for the feedback!!

Wow Darlene….you did a brilliant job pulling the reader into the scene very quickly….you painted the situation quickly and beautifully…very suspenseful…loved it!! Really well done!!

[…]  https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2018/09/26/as-the-crow-flies/ […]

Powerful story Darlene!

Thanks, Irene. It’s good to try something different.

Well done Darlene, and congratulations on being runner up.

Thanks so much, Karen!

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