A Murder Of Crows by Hugh Cron

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.


Hugh Cron

Image – Google Image.

11 thoughts on “A Murder Of Crows by Hugh Cron

  1. Excellent allegory told in active short sentences. The sturdy little lines unite and become one thing, which, if course is a merger of style and the content of the text.
    Coincidentally, there’s a pair of mated crows nesting in a huge maple tree outside an old office building in downtown Seattle. I can’t go by there anymore, because one of them is a dive bombing hat thief.


    • Thanks so much Irene!
      I had this idea for a while and it finally formed into something.
      All your comments are much appreciated.


  2. On a personal note. Our crows (members of the intelligent corvid group) have increased in numbers, started to work on our feral feeding station, tried to grab a squirrel on our fence and are painting our sidewalk and street white. Can they ever create a ruckus. Related – I was stared down by a raven while on Mt. Hood. It is easy to see why native Americans saw ravens as iconic, mythological creatures.

    Seattle – a lot of crow research is done there. They recognize people that they don’t like and particularly like McDonalds discards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crows are indeed intelligent. I have witnessed groups of four teaming to hunt mice, and there’s an old twisted beak crow codger in East Bremerton who remembers that I always carry oatmeal-raisin cookies and that I share. Maybe the crow who dive bombs me can be bought off with cookies.


  3. It was just a Priest’s nightmare, right, Hugh? I hope it doesn’t become a reoccuring one like actors have when they don’t know what play they’re in and can’t find a script.


    • Hi June,
      I hadn’t considered a nightmare. I love it when a story can go off in a reader inspired logic / tangent.

      Thanks as always, much appreciated.


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