Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

The Crow By kayleigh mills

The evergreens were a black smudge against the blood of the dying sun as he idly observed Margot scurry towards the edge of the forest. The trees were unwrapped and exposed; skeletal branches grabbed for her as she ran. Emerging from the murky depths, she cast a worried glance over her shoulder.

Margot continued on the uneven path toward her home. The inky-blue darkness of night had already began to conceal him. Above, the uncertain lights of distant stars began to flicker like the guttering flame of a candle.

Perched silently, he had watched her for a while now. She was perfect. Solitary and isolated this far east of the village, her disappearance would go unnoticed. She was exactly what he needed.

Following her into the forest, he had made himself known. In his human form of course. As he approached, he saw her eyes widen. She took in his curved nose and raven black hair - the features did not quite fit together on a human face. The cadence of his voice was disconcerting when speaking human words. His whole presence was unnerving.

She ran; he followed. Only he was far quicker and could see all from the air. His haunting cry ripped through the frigid January air above her.

Poised outside her window, he waited to make his move.

By the time he left the cottage in the early hours, her fragile frame hunched forward: her body twisted and deformed. She rocked gently with her arms squeezed around her ribs, as if trying to hold herself together.

“Please,” her thin voice reached out and begged to the empty room. A heart-wrenching plea that only the callous fiend could ignore. The tortured body was only a temporary vehicle for his immortal soul, if soul was the right word. Margot was collapsing in on herself, eaten away by her unwelcome guest. He had taken everything. She had served her purpose.

As he fled, a scream ripped through the air. It was beyond human, loaded with fiery agony. Margot’s teeth smashed together, her spine cracked as she reared up from her stoop. Her neck was rigid and taut with tendons that protruded through papery skin. Her eyes, laced with crimson, rolled as her head flung further back. Withered arms were wrenched open revealing the sharp edges of her clavicle; her emaciated frame was skeletal in the early dawn light. “Please,” was the last grim whisper spat between gritted teeth.

With a sigh that almost sounded like relief, Margot collapsed forward, the weight of her head driving her broken body towards the floor.

Sleek and black, he flew through the air with replenished strength. He let out a victorious cry as he beat his wings towards the next town.

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