The Old Crow

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Imaginarium

A spooky, Halloween, story.

The Old Crow

 

Halloween, the Witching hour

When Elves and Fay Folk, wield their power

When Ghosts’ n Goblins, breach the veil

Betwixt the realms, where fairy boats sail

 

‘Trick or treat!’

Small voices echoed on the night breeze. The streets were alive with children, all in fancy dress, ghosts’ n goblins, witches n warlocks, zombies and aliens, all carrying Jack ‘O’ lanterns, laughing and playing.

Parents watched from a distance as their children ran up garden paths, passing skeletons with glowing eyes and drooling zombies with outstretched arms.

Garden shrubberies were covered in wispy webs. Great black, hairy spiders, leered out from them, their red and green eyes, menacingly flashing.

Jack ‘O’ Lanterns flickered from behind windowpanes or grinned on doorsteps, carefully and lovingly carved with comical and demonic faces, welcoming the patter of tiny feet and the wrapping of small knuckles on their spider encrusted doors.

All was fun and laughter on, Hallows’ eve.

 

Yet on this fun, filled, time of the year, there was always one house in the neighbourhood that didn’t join in with the festivities! It stood separate from the line of houses, at the end of the street, looking lonely, uninviting, dark, and creepy, without having to try. Its curtains and old fashioned nets pulled tightly together, so that curious, peeking, eyes could not see inside of this soulless, sagging, old crumbling interior, bereft of life and cheer.

 

There were no Jack ‘O’ Lanterns on this doorstep or leering out from behind the curtains of this old house. There were no fake webs hanging from the door frame. There was, however a real silky web with a real, spiny legged spider, busily dragging a cocooned moth, off to its larder to feast on later.

The front door was a dull leaf green and needed a lick of fresh paint. Yet in contrast to its sorry state, a shiny silver door knocker hung, a crow’s head, gleaming and polished to the highest sheen.

A small hand stretched up and swung the knocker. It clacked loudly.

Callum held his breath and waited.

The sound of creaking boards from inside grew louder. A key rattled in the lock and then the door creaked open on rusty hinges.

A shadow filled the open doorway. It was hunched over and stocky, the waft of lavender seeped out from the hallway behind it, hidden in the gloom.

Callum’s leg suddenly felt weak. He looked up at the figure, his stomach felt queasy.

‘Trick or treat!’ Callum spluttered nervously and held up a plastic pumpkin, shaped basket, already half full of sweets in their brightly coloured wrappers.

 

The figure lunged at him, her hands shot out from her crocheted shawl; her bony fingers were long and grasping like bird talons.

Callum screamed with fright.

 ‘BOO!’ the old crow screeched and began to cackle like a demented gnome, her rounded shoulders rolled up and down.

 ‘Gotha!’ she cackled again. I bet you are going to need a nappy change when you get home, young man!’ she chuckled.

Callum screwed his face up at the disgusting comment.

She was, Callum instantly thought, the oldest person he had ever seen in his life, she looked ancient. Her long, wrinkly, sagging, face was framed in a wild mass of silver, grey hair that flowed over her shoulders and down to her waist, like unkempt wool. Her toothless mouth gaped open in the most awful show of gleaming purple gums, and her flapping turkey neck wobbled when she cackled.

But it was her eyes that held Callum’s attention, in their sharp, dark, unblinking, beady, stare.

 

Callum spun around at the giggling laughter coming from behind him. His three friends were standing a safe distance away, they had elected him to knock on the door and were pleased they had when the old crow had lurched forward, scaring their friend, half to death.

The old crow stared down at the boy and cocked her head to one side. Her spiky grey eyebrows knotted together, her tongue licked her wormy lips, ‘And what are you supposed to be?’ she croaked.

Callum took a deep breath, ‘I am a Leprechaun!’ he said pulling on the tails of his green jacket and then readjusted his shamrock brim hat.

‘A Leprechaun is it!’ the old crow sounded amused and then chuckled, ‘Pray to your gods, you never meet one, dressed like that, little one. For it would not be amused at your mocking attire. And let me tell you, a pissed off Leprechaun is not something you want to trifle with. They have the meanest tempers you will ever find of any of the sidhe folk.’

Callum just looked at the old crow and instantly decided she was off her trolley.

‘Trick or treat!’ he huffed and held up his pumpkin basket.

The old crow raised her eyebrows, ‘Well! What about the rest of the rhyme? Half a rhyme is no good now, is it! It’s like casting half a spell; it’s not going to do you much good, and will probably go awry and blow up in your face, for being so careless.’

‘What are you on about?’ Callum looked confused.

The old crow leaned forward, her beady eyes gleamed. She raised her hands like a spook, her shawl flapped like a pair of black wings as she crowed in a deep, frightening tone,

‘Trick or treat?

Is your soul sour or sweet?

Is your heart warm or cold?

Do you do as you are told?

Trick or treat?

Will the worms find your flesh, sour or sweet?

Will your tongue, for the crows, be a tasty treat?

Will fairies sing in your ears?

Or will goblins nip at your feet?

Trick or Treat?

Callum was beginning to lose his patience, ‘Look, you daft, old crow! Give me some sweets, or I might come back later and put something nasty and smelly through, your letterbox!’ he grinned, ‘I have a very big dog, you know!’

The old crow cackled, ‘Oh! you have a nasty, sour, tongue, your heart is cold and your soul is black, beware the sound of my wings when you hear them flap, and run to your Ma, when my beak on your windowpane, starts to, tappity-tap-tap-tap.’

And then the old crow slammed the door closed in Callum’s face, leaving him standing on the porch with the strong smell of lavender in his nostrils.

 

Callum turned to his friends, who were sniggering, ‘What was she mumbling on about?’ Frankenstein asked.

‘I don’t know!’ Callum shrugged his shoulders and then sneered, ‘But the next time, Sabre takes a big, steaming, dump, it's going straight through that daft old crow’s letterbox.

Then, as Callum looked over his shoulder at the house, he could have sworn the curtains in the front room, twitched.

 

 

 

Callum was sound asleep in bed. His pumpkin basket lay empty on his bedroom floor. Several wrappers were scattered around it. The rest of his candy stash was piled up on his bedside cabinet.

Callum’s eyes snapped, open. His heart jumped like a flea on a dog’s back. He sat upright and stared blearily, eyed at his Pokemon clock. It was midnight, the Witching hour! His room was dark, cast in inky shadow. Outside of his window, all was silent and black, too black! There was no moonshine or lamplight from the street outside, which always leaked into his room. It was as if something was blocking the night light out.

Something brushed his window, fluttering against the glass, feathery and soft, yet rough at the same time. Callum realized, he was holding his breath, his rising panic was soaring.

A scraping sound, screeching, and ear-piercing, came from the windowpane.

Callum was now trembling; his little heart was thumping rapidly in his chest. Something bumped against the glass and then a sharp, tap-tap-tap like a bony finger, called to him.

Callum felt a tear running down his cheek.  He could hear the words of warning from the Old Crow woman, squawking in his ears.

Tap-Tap-Tap! Again that hard noise came from his window.

Callum’s stomach churned, he took a sharp breath and threw the blankets back, and leaped out of bed, he was going to run to his parent’s bedroom into the safety of their arms.

Callum managed to take only three steps and then froze. Terror gripped his body in a tight embrace. He could not move, a dim light shone through his window, it was not the moonlight or even the lamplight outside. It was a large round orb, orange with black flecks, staring through the window at him.

Callum’s mouth fell open in a silent scream; the giant crow outside of his window turned its feathered head. Its huge shiny obsidian beak shattered the bedroom window. Glass shards exploded into the room. The giant crow squawked, the deafening noise was like screeching brakes.

Callum staggered backward, bumping into a set of drawers, knocking some of his toys onto the floor.

The crow screeched again, pushing its huge head through the broken window. The Old Crow hopped into the room. It towered over him. Its head brushed against the ceiling. Its curved talons dug into the carpet, ripping deep furrows into it. It flapped its wings, they reached the walls on either side of his room, knocking a lamp over and sending it crashing to the floor.

The Old Crow opened its black beak, a long pink tongue, like a spear, poked out toward him. Callum screamed and fled. He reached his bedroom door and tugged on the handle. The Old Crow squawked and flapped a wing, knocking him off his feet.

Callum cried out. Why were his parents, not coming to his aid? Surely they must have heard the shattering window, and the awful screeching of the monstrous bird, not to mention, his own screams of terror.

Callum rolled up into a ball like a pill bug.

A bony crowfoot came to rest on him. Callum felt its weight press down on his quivering body. Its long toes curled around him, its talons bit into his soft flesh, drawing beads of blood.

Callum cried out in petrified terror. And then something soft and wet slid across his cheek. Callum forced an eye open. The Old Crow leered down at him, its orange eyes blinked. Its tongue retracted back into its razor, sharp beak, and then it cackled, its body rolled up and down in a strange, familiar way.

‘Trick or Treat!’ the Old Crow screeched and then began to ferociously peck at Callum’s soft flesh, ripping his belly open and gulping down his succulent, bloody, innards, as if it were pulling a long, juicy worm from the ground, cackling and flapping its mighty ragged wings.

Callum screamed and screamed a terrible song, as the Old Crow devoured him, alive, piece by, bloody piece.

 

‘Callum-Callum!’ The Old Crow screeched in his ears, pecking at his liver.

And then suddenly, the pain stopped, and the screeching melted away. Callum jumped up in bed, his bedside lamp was on and his mother was stroking his sweat, soaked, forehead.

Shh! It was only a dream; it was just a silly nightmare!’ His mother’s calming voice was like an angel soothing his night terrors and chasing them away, back to the shadows, from whence they had crawled to torment his dreams.

His mother smiled at him and soothed away his fear, ‘That’s the last time you eat so many sugary treats, before going to bed, young man!’ and then she walked over to the door,

‘I will leave the lamp on, now try and get some sleep.’ She smiled warmly at him.

Callum slid down into his warm, comfortable bed and pulled the blankets tightly around him, and closed his eyes.

Outside, a crow sat perched on the window sill, peering in through the window. It turned its head, sideways. It’s strange, orange, eyes, blinked, and it bobbed up and down, flapping its wings and started tapping on the window with its beak.

Callum sat up in bed, his heart froze in his chest. Outside the Old Crow’s wings flapped, and its beak on his windowpane went, tappity-tap-tap-tap

Callum screamed, again. It was a high pitched, pitiful noise.

Outside, the Old Crow joined in with the cacophonous sound, bobbing up and down and squawking,

‘Trick or treat! Trick or treat!’

 

Hallow’een the Witching hour

When the Old Crow comes to power

Casting her shadow over wicked children’s dreams

With claw and beak, she draws out their screams

In the Witching hour, on Hallow’een.

 

 

 


Submitted: October 29, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Celtic-Scribe63. All rights reserved.

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Comments

hullabaloo22

Fantastic Halloween tale, C-S. Your descriptions of the encounter with the old woman, and of her too, were spot on. I loved the way she got to give as good as she got from young Callum.
When the story really got horrifying was with the visit that was or wasn't. Brilliant!
Tell me one thing; was the continuation of 'Trick or Treat' authentic or did you make it up?
Oh, and the pictures you included were perfect - I think illustrations can always add a lot.

Fri, October 30th, 2020 6:48pm

Author
Reply

So pleased you liked it.

I was meant to write it last year, but never got around to it.
The trick or treat rhyme was all my own! (Beaming smile) LOL.

I just thought that it should have more to it than just 'Trick or Treat'

So it lent itself well to the idea for the story.

Nothing like a good picture to help set the mood with your writing.

Again, thanks' for the read and so pleased you enjoyed it.

Happy Halloween.
'Trick or treat!'

Fri, October 30th, 2020 1:03pm

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