Edwin sat, beaker of ale in hand, relaxing in the afternoon sun. He’d worked hard that morning on a new set of harness for the Lord of the Manor.
With a suddenness that startled him a crow swooped down, landing just a short distance from his outstretched feet. Crows were a familiar sight. From his cottage he’d heard their hoarse cries, watched as they soared and wheeled in the air or squabbled over dead vermin, tearing the flesh with their strong pointed beaks but he’d never seen one at close quarters before. He watched uneasily as it settled its feathers into place. A low harsh croak came from its half-opened beak and it fixed him with a dark unblinking gaze.
Crows, bad luck omens, harbingers of death it was said. What was he to make of this one, so near, seemingly unafraid. He shook his head. He didn’t believe in all those superstitions, it was only a bird after all. He needed to get back to his work.
The next morning the crow returned, and after that every morning, coming and going at regular intervals throughout the day, watching him at work as his hands expertly shaped and smoothed the leather.
He started to expect it, to look for its arrival and as the months passed welcomed its companionship. He found himself talking to it, quite naturally as to a friend, confiding his thoughts, his dreams. The crow would listen, head cocked on one side as if it understood every word.
One day, as he sat in the sunshine, the crow before him as usual, it lowered its head and started to preen. He watched, fascinated as it worked, delicately teasing out individual feathers along the edge and ends of its wings and tucking them gently into place with the tip of its strong fierce beak. He watched, eyes half closed as if in a trance, as it used its beak to flatten and smooth the dark plumage and somehow it seemed to him like someone brushing their hair, sunlight reflecting its subtle sheen. He felt strangely moved and he murmured aloud, “If only I had a woman like you, crow, dark, wise, mysterious. How I would love her.”
The crow suddenly lifted and spread its wings wide and high, began to pass them rapidly over and in front of its head in a whirlwind of circular movements, creating a bewildering vortex of motion. He watched as the tips of its flight feathers separated, lengthened, became fingers, arms clad in gauzy black. Just as suddenly all movement stopped. Standing before him was a young woman, a glory of black glossy hair framing her face and flowing smoothly over her shoulders and back. She raised her head and looked directly, lovingly at him with those dark intelligent eyes he had grown to know and love.
He gave a joyous cry, “My beautiful crow, my glorious crow woman, come to me.” He held out his arms wide and she came to him.
Pamela does not have a website or twitter account, she heard about the project via a friend and wrote me a piece just for fun.