New short fiction up at Pangyrus

January 18, 2023 § Leave a comment

‘Today a flock of crows has gathered. Half a dozen of the birds with their glossy blue-black feathers, come to peck at beetles he supposes, or some other small insect involved in the decomposition of dead matter. He strides up to the crows, brandishing his cane.

“Bugger off, now! This is a burial site, not a feeding place for scavengers!”

The crows tilt their heads to stare up at him. Their obsidian eyes are insolent, almost bored-looking, by the sight of the heavy filigreed cane-head whistling through the air above them.

“Very well, then. But don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning.”

He takes careful aim and swings. The crows flap off, but one wheels, cawing and swooping belligerently back down at him. He aims the cane and swings again, and this time he feels the jolt of an actual connection. The crow lets out a low grunt as it flips to the ground, one black wing jutting out from its broken body as it struggles to get up from the hemlock needles.

He brings the cane-head down on the crow’s skull; it collapses with an audible crunch, like a boiled egg. He draws the blade and skewers the creature’s broken body, walking it up into the forest where he digs a little trench in the sodden ground, kicks some leaves over it, and wipes the blade clean.

That’s more like it now, he says to himself, sheathing the blade as he walks down toward the house. You just have to confront them one by one.

Read the whole story here. Listen to a brief audio piece about the historical figure who inspired the story here.

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