Call Of The Raven
by Christian Ward
I have a secret to tell you.
I've killed something.
I'm not sure whether you consider that an important reason to listen but it makes one fine story. You see, the thing I killed, murdered if you like, was not a person. It was a bird. To be more precise, a raven. You might be thinking, why? What's a raven ever done?
As I held its dead body in my arms, I wondered why it did what it did all that time ago...
I guess this happened about a year ago. It was one of those warm summers that we get in our tiny village of Hatherton. Everyday seemed like a trip out to the furnace. The field cracked and bowed under the enormous heat, the crops long melted away out of existence. Dust coated the air, making it nearly impossible to breath sometimes. For a couple of months, I had to endure this. The boredom I could handle, but not going out. That was the worse. There was only so much I could read; only so much I could watch. You get the idea.
But eventually, there was a break in the weather. It happened in late August. As I watched the sky melt away into a swirling pot of white and grey from the porch of my Uncle's farmhouse, I could see the raindrops fall faster and faster. Screaming `hallelujah!' I ran out to embrace our newfound friend. All the animals nearby looked at me as if I was crazy. The rabbits, the horses nearby and even Maisie, our beloved Labrador.
Months passed. As I worked long and hard on the fields, harvesting the crops my mind wandered. The work was just dull and boring. If I weren't sowing, I'd be planting. If I weren't planting, I'd be picking. There was nothing remotely exciting about anything. So I started to daydream. A lot. I'd imagine that the orchard would come alive and that the pears would start talking to me. I'd chat to the trees and tell them stories of my younger days. I'm not sure if my Uncle thought I was crazy but if he did, he didn't show it.
Funny how things you wish for comes true. Things really started to begin one winter's day. I was out exploring the snow-covered hills nearby, looking for signs of life. I was just hoping to find anything. But as the hours passed. Nothing. But then I came to a rough clearing where there was a small pile of stones. I noticed something in the corner of my eye. It was an ear, long and covered in brown fur. I dug frantically through them when I finally removed them all. And there it was. The rabbit was in good condition but for one thing.
It had no eyes.
Something or someone had left the body intact but strangely, removed its eyes. For what purpose, I don't know. I covered it in a hander kerchief and put in my coat pocket.
Later that evening, I showed it to my uncle. As we sat in the study, I watched his coarse hands examine the dead rabbit. His ruddy face peered gently at the eyeless face, those pale blue eyes meticulously looking at the hollow spaces.
"Strange", he said, "The eyeballs have been removed precisely. There's no trace of anything in the socket"
"But why would someone or something do such a thing?" I asked.
The tall, grey haired man shook his head and simply said: "I don't know David, I really don't."
A couple of days later, I was walking along one of the fields with Maisie when the same thing happened. Buried slightly in the frost-covered soil, there it was. Another rabbit. This too had its eyeballs removed.
The weirdness stopped for a couple of weeks when it happened again. It was on New Years Eve when I noticed it. I was walking back to the farmhouse from the bus stop when I saw a dead bird sprawled across the road. Like the rabbits, the wood pigeon was relatively intact.
But the eyes were gone.
As the weeks passed, I found more dead creatures. And it was just pigeons either. Fox cubs, swallows, swift, and toads. Everything. Apart from a human. I carried on working in the fields, trying to carry on as normal. But I couldn't. Everywhere I looked I could only think of the creature that would do such a thing.
The time was coming to meet him.
I decided to lay a trap for the creature. I hung a net from one of the apple trees and placed a rabbit that had been anaesthetised underneath. I waited silently in the bushes. As the full moon came, I heard the rustling of feathers. A raven was flew under the trap and landed next to the rabbit.
Hobbling back to the farmhouse, I headed straight to the bathroom. Staring back was my bloodstained face. My left eye was missing.
It had won.