The last part of this 3-part story is a WIP that my friend Lola Gentry-Dey and I worked on jointly several years ago. We never finished it.
I decided to post it to coincide with the month that will lead us to Halloween.
Reader Advisory: The story may contain strong language.
~ 3 ~
I couldn’t believe Julie had followed me to the pond. She actually thought her display with the knife was going to scare me enough to go back to Odinwood. Ha!
In defiance, I marched over to the highway and turned toward Clearview and the purple-gray sky that spewed forth a sudden and angry thunder. Escape from Julie meant I would have to go through the heart of the storm. I spewed forth thunder of my own. I wished I had remembered my cell phone. I would have called Annie and had her boyfriend come rescue me.
A crow cawed from the trees near the pond. I watched the black bird lift into flight with bulky wings, flapping above treetops, pushing its torso to the sky as the first drop of rain struck my face. The crow banked left, soared across the highway, and landed awkwardly to perch atop a pine tree. It pranced and positioned itself so that it stared down at me.
I yelled at it, told it to fly away.
It cawed at me instead and ruffled its feathers as though it had shrugged its shoulders.
I was wasting precious time. A few more raindrops fell on me as I started up the highway. I had gone about twenty yards when the crow flew past my head and landed a few feet in front of me. It turned, faced me and stood defiant.
I refused to stop. As I passed its left, it pecked suddenly at my left leg, sending pain shooting through the side of my knee.
“Son of a bitch,” I yelled as it struck my knee again with that chisel-like beak and sent more pain shooting through my leg.
I jumped away and then kicked at it as it came for another peck. It dodged my foot, spread its wings, and danced along the shoulder of the road as it squared off with me.
I turned and ran. More rain fell and struck my face. As I wiped rain and tears from my eyes, the crow flew again past my head and landed in front of me. Then it turned and charged.
I screamed and kicked at it as it attacked my legs. Its beak tore through my blue jeans and pierced the tender flesh beneath. My head swam from the pain in my legs, and my knees nearly buckled when the crow hammered its beak against a kneecap. I staggered to run from the damn bird, to escape its savage assault.
Rain fell harder around us, getting into my eyes. A vehicle passed dangerously close and the driver blew its horn as the car speeded past and continued on.
The crow continued attacking me and I continued to kick blindly, erratically, and uselessly. Then it stopped for a moment. I turned and ran, lost my footing, and tripped. I sprawled on the highway, skinning my hands. The crow landed on my back, struck the back of my skull, and hopped away. When I looked up to see where it had gone, a pair of headlights bore down on me and lit up my eyes in a painful, fiery red.
I rolled out of the vehicle’s way and heard the crow take flight, its wings flapping like someone shaking sand from a beach towel.
When I turned, the truck had stopped along the berm. The driver’s door was open and Dr. Bisbee ran to me.
“My god, girl, what are you doing out here on the highway?” he asked.
“The crow,” I said in a bullfrog’s voice while trying to hold back my sobs and trying to stand. “It attacked me.”
Dr. Bisbee took me by the shoulders. Thunder rumbled. Cold rain fell. I opened my mouth to catch the rain that tasted good but icy in my throat. Then, I fell against Dr. Bisbee and wept.
He led me to the passenger door and helped me climb to a dry seat. Before he closed my door, I heard the crow caw out with a triumphant sound from somewhere outside.
I swore at it before the allover warmth inside the truck swallowed me and hushed my profanities. Then, as Dr. Bisbee got into the truck, he and the world around me vanished in a realm of sudden darkness.