Short Story Collection

This is a collection of short stories I've written. Enjoy!

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2. A Murdering Crow

Cassandra sat in wait. Blackness surrounded her, but she loved it. She was blackness. It fit her well.

            “This is the latest victim. A male of about thirty two, face scratched to bits and heart ripped out, like all the other victims.” Cassandra pushed off, her yellow beak hitting a face. “Get off of me!” Hands grasped at Cassandra’s wings, but her clawed feet held tightly to his heart as she scratched her beak into the intruder’s face. Out came the heart with a sickening slurp, thudding to the ground. The body followed as Cassandra wiggled free of the hands grasping at her.

            “A crow?” Those were some of the more common last words of bystanders (whom were often killed by Cassandra as well).

            Cassandra whistled triumphantly. Two hearts in about three minutes was her best time. Even when it had happened, the humans were slow to catch on. Cassandra picked up the two hearts, trying to block out the painful memories. There was a method to her madness and madness to her method.

            Flying back to her small nest, Cassandra’s mind reeled. She could still remember that brutal night her parents were killed. Every word spoken, every gruesome thing she saw that night, the pain it left in its wake, all of it was burned into her mind.

            But that wasn’t the worst part of it. The worst of that night was that Cassandra had also been injured. It had been a permanent injury, too. The tip of her right wing had been broken off, and it off set the balance of her wings. The only way she could fly was with something in her right food. A human heart worked well.

            Cassandra sat her new catches down in the small nest. There were crimson stains on the twigs, but she loved it all the same.

            “Out hunting humans again, Cass?” The sudden coos of another crow startled Cassandra slightly as she dug her beak into one of the hearts, causing more crimson spills. She looked up, beak bloodshot.

            A good friend of Cassandra’s sat perched on a branch just above the nest. His feathers gleamed a deep purple in the rising sun, while hers gleamed a black too dark to even be considered black.

            “Why are you so concerned, Noah?” Cassandra’s coos were deep, dark, matching her usually gloomy mood. Noah gently hopped down to her nest, resting on the side. Cassandra dug her beak back into the first heart, spilling more crimson blood into the nest. Noah shuddered.

            “I’m concerned because you’ve killed more than thirty humans in ten years. They call you ‘The Murdering Crow’.” Cassandra crowed a hoarse laughter that made Noah visible shudder. It always did make him shudder, but Cassandra didn’t care.

            “Thirty less of the horrid race is what it means, Noah. Don’t forget that your parents were killed that night too.” Noah turned his amethyst head away, his sapphire eyes dulling with tears.

“This isn’t the right way to solve the problem, Cassandra.” Cassandra sighed, the first heart almost gone. She slurped up the last vein, burping as it went down. Cassandra considered the human heart one of the best foods in the forest. “Please, Cass. Stop before they kill you.” Now Cassandra hopped to her friend.

“I will stop when my parents return to me, Noah. You know as well as I do that they were killed. I should’ve died too. I’m avenging my parents’ death.” The forest was a cemetery silent after that. Noah’s eyes dug deep into Cassandra’s night eyes.

“Cass, fix your habits or they’ll fix them for you.” Noah’s words stung deep. Cassandra hung her head as she went to the second hart. More crimson spilled as she dug into it.

“Noah, I died inside that day. The only thing that keeps me going is the smell of human crimson…human blood.” Noah shuddered.

“Cass, you are a twisted crow.” Cassandra looked up, pink strings hanging out of her mouth before – slurp – in her beak they went.

“That night still haunts me, Noah.” Noah hopped over to her, fluttering his wings lightly. Cassandra stepped away from him. Noah’s wing still managed to lightly caress her. Attempting to pull away from him, she hopped for the second heart.

“Cass, don’t eat that heart.” She defiantly stuck her beak into the heart. “Cassandra.” She pulled out some muscle and swallowed.

“Noah.” She responded with the same harshness. They locked eyes. Cassandra didn’t dare look away. Noah broke first.

“Fix your habits, Cassandra, before they fix them for you.” With that restatement, Noah fluttered off into the shining sun. Cassandra snorted.

“They won’t fix my habits for me.” With that, Cassandra continued to eat the heart. The muscles were soft and easier to eat than other hearts, meaning this person hadn’t worked out much.

With both hearts eaten, Cassandra laid down in the nest, resting her heavy wings and eyelids. Killing two always took more energy and required more rest afterwards than killing just one.

“I will continue in the morning.” With that promise made to herself, Cassandra dozed off for the day, dreaming of more hearts to eat.

The next night, Cassandra awoke to a bizarre noise. It almost sounded like a gun…but Cassandra couldn’t tell. She opened her black eyes a crack to see what was going on. Please don’t be a gun.

Darkness met her eyes. She had slept right through the day and night had fallen once more. This was her element; no human could ever beat her in the dark. She wasn’t about to let them start now, not after ten years of killing humans.

“The Murdering Crow’s nest is around here somewhere, I know it.” Cassandra hopped off her back, trying to catch the group of humans off-guard. She watched from her nest, waiting. Another human kill wouldn’t hurt her record. Three humans, each with a gun of his own, sauntered under her tree. One turned to the other two, opening his mouth. It was then that Cassandra attacked.

“Get her!” Cassandra held tight to the heart while pecking at the one’s face. “Don’t sh-” His words got cut off as his heart wretched loose and Cassandra pulled it out through his rib bones, a horrifying creak sounding. His friends fingered the guns.

“Don’t make any sudden movements.” Cassandra took the heart to her nest. One down, two to go. She set it down, and then turned to strike. The shorter of the two left caught her attention. That was the one that Cassandra’s strike would be on next. Cassandra reared up to attack.

“Now!” Bullets rained down on Cassandra’s nest as the humans open fired on her. She dove behind the human heart, shielding herself as best she could. Click! One gun was out of bullets. Click. The other was out. And Cassandra was unharmed.

“Dang it!” Now Cassandra dove to the second man, the fatter, shorter one, her talons digging deep into his skin. The man screeched as Cassandra tugged on his heart while her beak poked at his face. His face became a collection of angry cuts when Cassandra finally pulled his heart loose. The struggling body fell limp, and Cassandra started for the last man. He was the thinnest of the three, making him the easiest kill she’d had in a while. Or so she hoped, at least.

Cassandra was bitterly disappointed. He was quick on his feet and smarter than the others. Cassandra saw him pick up the first man’s gun, aim, and shoot. A quiet crow’s coo was heard as The Murdering Crow herself was killed.

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