Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Henry Crow (pt. 3)

In the mirror-faced reflection across from him, Henry Crow saw himself sitting next to the right side candelabra, but also six more figures standing behind him. They came closer to the light, and he saw they were the traces of six of his past loves--three men, three women--but they were all so much more gaunt and pale than he'd ever remembered them being. Black rings circled around their dull eyes; they all rasped wispy breaths.

'But they're not dead!' Henry began to exclaim, feeling panicked.

'Mostly not, at least,' Dave explained. 'Look at them; look in their eyes, Henry.'

The flickering candlelight seemed to be burning holes directly into all their pupils.

'These are just the core of the countless men and women you have stolen away from their spouses--wooed the women away from their husbands, their children, their own lovers, and doing the same with the men through trickery; all for your own amusement, your own enjoyment. All for your own selfish pleasure, you stole their lives away. You laughed after having your way with them and turning them away. You smiled as you heard their proclamations for you and only added them as trinkets to your ego, and felt the calm come over you knowing how badly they wanted you to be theirs. Why, Henry?'

'Why, Henry Crow, why?' they all began to chant as a chorus.

They were all writhing towards Henry, in the mirror's reflection, all pawing at him where he sat and cooing his name. It seemed to echo so strangely within the cavern's walls.

'Henry..love us, Henry..'

Henry stared at the mirror as they all began to caress his reflection more, all began to give hungry kisses to him, the movements becoming all the more frantic. Eventually, after a slight blonde man kissed him, blood was drawn from Henry's lips. Their pawing became less sensuous and more like rabid, starving animals, clawing at his clothing as well as his face and ripping at his slicked back hair.


They all began to spit on him and claw at him more, when just as soon as Henry felt he couldn't bear to watch anymore, they all stopped, and silence resumed in the dark, dank dwelling. They were removed from the mirror, and only a cowering, bruised and scratched Henry sat at the table, shielding himself. He sat alone, as he stared back at himself beneath the figure's hood.

He sat alone...but only briefly.

Eventually, after a moment's silence, another Henry Crow came creeping up from behind, giving the original reflected Henry Crow an evil, completely sinister grin. This one had a wild look in his eyes, made only wilder by the flames reflecting off of them. The original Henry knew this was not going to end well. The doppelganger clasped his hands on the original's shoulders.

'I created a bit of a monster with what I've created in you,' Dave mentioned, still looking forward at the mirror-figure before him.

'You can't even appreciate the spray of the sea, or the scent of spring anymore, can you?' the doppelganger seemed to sneer at the original Henry Crow. The double ran his fingers through the sitting Henry's hair, slightly. He looked down, sadly. 'How pathetic.'

He waited a moment before grabbing a thick lock of his mane and slamming his face against the table, his head bouncing back for a moment, causing the candelabras to skip as well.


Henry Crow the original lay there, stunned for the time being. He wanted to sit upright, but it was too straining to even imagine moving right then. The double crouched over him, speaking softly into his ear:

'All because of them, isn't it? Always them. Weak.' He shoved Henry Crow's lumped over figure slightly. 'Cry, cry, cry. She thought you ugly. He thought you worthless. Bitch, moan, pisser,' he flippantly concluded, giving another shove to his still-resting skull.

'Perhaps you're a bit hard on yourself,' Dave quietly mentioned. The double shot him a look of something fierce, within the mirror-face. Henry the original began to sit up, looking completely dazed and feeling like utter shit. He ran his fingers through his hair, resting on the spot that stung for a moment, and cracked his neck, before addressing the doppelganger.

'Well, you're just mad because they think you're a faggot.'

The double stared daggers at the original Henry.

'And I am.'

He gave a bit of a laugh before the double roared and charged at him, both grasping at the others' neck and taking occasional swings. The first Henry took a sharp elbow to the face, bleeding out of his nose profusely.

'Take it, motherfucker. Take it! You NEED me. You need me to LIVE--to FUNCTION,' the double shouted. 'TO FUCKING BREATHE!!'

Henry the original was hunched over, catching breaths between spitting away droplets of blood, when the double started lurching toward him. He went to knee Henry in his face, but the adrenaline surging through his body caused him to react on a moment's notice, swinging himself over to the side and grabbing the double from behind. He got a strong choke-hold on him. The double started to struggle, trying to claw at Henry's face behind him, smacking him, anything to attempt to free himself. His breathing became strained.

'I actually don't need you, you rotten little sonofabitch.'

The double's body went limp, and Henry Crow let it collapse to the floor. He took his seat back and breathed for a moment, looking over at his bloody friend still focusing only on the mirror-figure. He looked across at his own reflection, expecting to see a complete mess of a man staring back at him. But there was no bloody nose; no scratches or bruises or cuts on his face. His clothes were clean again. Pale as ever. It was like nothing happened. Confused, he looked over at Dave's mirror. It flashed the image of a tombstone tucked behind some grass. Dave's tombstone. The bear still slept contentedly, the commotion around him completely unacknowledged.

'How I went, Henry?' Dave began, nodding down at the bear, 'Not natural. Someone on high wanted me to go, no questions about it. I was a real bastard when I was alive. That's a bit of the limbo thing: working to achieve the happiness I should be rewarded, but sins of the past restricting me.' He paused. 'I taught you everything you know and then some.. I had to be taken down in one of the most absurd ways possible to really have to see the wrong I did in my life, the destruction within ME I would unleash on others. Even you.'

Henry looked away from the tombstone and stared back at his own pale reflection.

'There's still time for you, Henry Crow. So use it. Be the best man you can possibly be.'

Finally, Dave broke his stare away from his mirror-figure, and the tombstone it reflected, and tiredly turned to his friend.

'Me, I'm a real bastard. You? You're a bit more of a sonofabitch,' Dave concluded.

Henry acknowledged this statement with a gentle nod. Dave smiled and reached over to place a hand on his shoulder.

'Go home, friend. Goodbye Henry.'


Henry Crow snapped awake face-down on his dirty linoleum floor.

He was in the same position he had been in when he passed out, and moved only his eyes around for a moment, looking all around to see a trace of Dave, the bear, or anything he just experienced. Nothing. The apartment was as dirty and dingy and empty as he left it.

He pulled himself up and took in a deep breath. He stood there with his hands on his hips, staring all around him, looking down at the mess the turkey sandwich made upon being dropped, and just shook his head a bit. He tossed it out, grabbed a rag and cleaned up the smears on the floor, then took his coat and stepped out again.

He decided to walk to the harbor.

He still looked down at the ground, predominantly, just out of habit, but he also noticed the changing colors in the sky, and how nicely they contrasted with the orange hues of the street lights. He passed over the bridge covering one of the canals, and stopped for a moment, noticing something small and interesting on the ground. He stood over it: the small porcelain figurine of a brown bear. He took it in his hand and stared down at it for a moment, feeling his heart beating, warming. He placed it in his pocket, and looked out at the sky brightening and reflecting off the water, and the sailboats bobbing contentedly. He rested his elbows on the bridge's railings.

Henry Crow welcomed the steely blues of the dawn breaking.






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