He looked out into the grounds and couldn’t understand the blackness. He thought that it was dead leaves. There had been a storm throughout the night which had unsettled. The dreams had frightened. He became anxious again as he tried to recall. They teased him, they were there hovering near to the edge of his consciousness, without form…disturbing. The Priest gave up and went into his bathroom to shave. The tremor in his hand changed his mind. He rinsed his face and tried to pray, the familiar words, spoken every morning since he entered the Diocese sixty years back were alien to him. They choked him and he felt a tear run down his cheek. It occurred to the old man that maybe he was having a stroke.
He went into his kitchen and washed his cocoa mug. He recalled being sick.
As he did every morning, he took out the bin bag and went into the grounds.
The old priest heard it first. It was the sound of tearing. He turned towards the noise and dropped the bag. His bowels emptied
As far as he could see there were dead crows lying on the church grounds and over the graveyard. They were frozen onto and into the hallowed earth. The dead began to rise, they tore themselves from the grass leaving some parts behind. The noise, the stench, made the old man clutch at his chest.
Eyes attached to tails, beaks to wings. It merged together in a twitching, conjoined union.
He knelt down and did all he could think to do, he prayed, hoping that the words would come to him this time. They did. Maybe his God was with him but he knew that it didn’t matter.
The black mass grew as each piece joined with another.
Some spark of life caused them to cry out. The beaks that could sound did so.
The priest crawled backwards. The mass grew. He still prayed ignoring his pain as he tried to get away from it.
Once the crows had attached what they could rip from the ground, they called out in unison. The song was guttural and longing.
They became one and began to rise.
It hovered in the air. There were no wings to lift it into the sky. The bastard of the wing was as redundant as the Father.
The sun began to rise but the heightening of the mass blocked out the light.
Higher it travelled and a shadow was cast.
The old priest decided that he should die.
The shadow spread and all that it touched turned to ice, then decay, then ash.
The crows call became sweeter as death spread.
The sun darkened as the mass lifted higher. The shadow was now over the village. The village died. The shadow carried on into the world and the crows calls were sweeter still.
Image – Google Image.