Good evening, everyone.
It's been a long time (since I rock 'n rolled [hwwaaahhh]).
To summarize: I've been working on collaborating with numerous creative people around here from many different schools of art; painters, photographers, fellow writers and an amazing, amazing musician. The last one and I have traded artistic efforts--him with a track he's been working on, me with this short story I'ma hit you with in a second, here.
I have a theory that something beautiful can come out of these scary stories I've been working on. Even if they don't manifest into songs right off the bat, I think they're compelling enough to entertain you even as just a story.
Here we go!
I dreamt of crows that morning.
I had come back because I needed a break--my relationship was in shambles, my bills overflowing, my occupation uncertain. Home was never where my heart is, but it was at least nice to breathe new air for a few days.
I decided to go for an early morning jog. Help clear the thoughts, and get the blood flowing.
Generally, when I'd come back, I'd stick to only a few roadside paths to do my routine on. It's a very rural area, you see, so there are no proper sidewalks--and all the good ol' boys revving their engines and hootin' and hollerin' at the unsuspecting pedestrians can make the trek back and forth all the more treacherous.
That morning, I decided to go the path I'd barely crossed before, in my years living there.
It was a crisp morning. Overcast, with an eerie mist filling every crevice in the valley. Not a bird sang, nor a frog croaked, nor a cricket chirped. Frost clung to the leafless limbs of distorted Oak trees adjacent to the road, twigs twisted and turned upright as if recoiling from something dreadful.
I went to the East. Past the dilapidated farms, past the spent vineyards, past the quaint country homes with the smoke pluming from the chimneys--the families undoubtedly contented within. I went towards the woods, at the end of the the road where it forks off. I can only describe it as, I felt driven to, that day.
Some of the fields, along the road...some of the fields, with the dead, yellow grass, its open plains rolling like waves in the wind, have their own stories behind them. Local tales of murders, or witches' ceremonies from the days of yore, animal sacrifice and demons. Small town superstition to satiate the locals, I'd always believed.
I took in sharp breaths and let the chill numb my lungs; I had a lot on my mind that morning. Along one of those very fields, I stopped alongside one of the wire fences to catch myself and think for a moment. I looked down at the murky mud puddle before me, and back at the stranger's reflection staring at me.
'Who are you today, friend? Where are you, even?'
I laughed to myself a bit, all be it rather dishearteningly, and decided it was time to head back.
As I began to turn away from the field, though, something interesting caught the corner of my eye. Something white, in the distance, seemed to be dancing feverishly. I stopped for a moment, and looked back at it. What I saw next, I still cannot properly explain to this day.
At first believing it to be a sheet somehow blown astray, I was astonished to see what appeared to be a skeletal figure--ashen white, with a menacing grin upon its skull, and empty, barren eye sockets--dancing as some sort of display. Frantic movements, but also eerily graceful. It laughed and swirled aimlessly, occasionally ducking down into the brush, only to hop back up and laugh maddeningly, pantomiming with a white shroud it'd occasionally sport as a cloak, or throw jubilantly into the air. Soon, three other skeletons arose from the ground, and joined with the first one--the ringleader--in this odd danse macabre.
They all joined bony digits together and started spinning in a circle, still cackling aloud. They were singing things that were unintelligible to me; their own twisted, foreign language, interrupted only by growls or more sinister laughter. Their speed became more rapid, and just as their ceremony seemed to reach a fevered pitch, they broke apart, all letting out terrified high-pitched shrieks.
A giant crow flew overhead, its massive wings making loud, graceful swoops as it glided over them.
The skeletons raised their hands over their empty eyes, shielding themselves, and as they cowered in fear, they seemed to disappear into the surrounding mist, and back into the grass. Their cries echoing off toward the hills.
I stood for a moment, trying to decide if what happened was true, or if it was brought on by a combination of stress and weakened lungs, and lack of oxygen to my brain. Everything was as still as it had been when I arrived, the air just seemed slightly...heavier. I noticed something resting in the distance, some 30 feet from where I stood. My curiosity thoroughly piqued, I decided to investigate.
I came upon two carcasses of two large pigs, the both of them laid out almost as if they were rugs. Their bowels were completely removed, as were every other internal organ, but they were no where to be found. The skin was a bit leathery, but it and the bones were still intact, the heads untouched, and all their limbs were outstretched. As I stared at them, slightly astonished, the crow flew over me once more, letting out a solitary caw before passing. I watched as it flew away, looked down at the pigs and back at the field once more, and made the decision to go back that afternoon.
I walked along the treacherous, lonely road, staring at the angry limbs of the trees reaching out to me.
Home...is a funny thing.
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