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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Mason's mother is having a bad day, so he decides to try to make her feel better. In the process, he learns something about himself.

Submitted: December 03, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 03, 2015




by Sam Melby



She looks angry, Mason thought to himself as he absentmindedly pushed his syrup-soaked pancakes around his plate.  A few feet away in the kitchen stood his mother, harshly scrubbing the dishes in the sink.  She sighed deeply as she gazed upon a white coffee mug in her hand, giving a longing glance toward the unplugged coffee machine to the left of the sink.

Mason didn’t want anymore of his pancakes, so he just continued pushing them around his plate, hoping his mother didn’t see that he had wasted food like a typical eight year old.  He hated displeasing his mother.  He loved her so much.

Outside, crows started cawing, their loud cries echoing through the open window the kitchen.  The air conditioner was broken, so Mason’s parents kept all the windows open to keep the house from getting stuffy on those hot summer days.

“Goddammit!” his mother exclaimed angrily, “Those goddamn crows!”

Seeing his mother so angry and annoyed made Mason sad.  He wished the crows would stop cawing and leave his mom alone.  As he watched his mother get more and more flustered, eventually burying her face in her hands, Mason felt a thought creep into the back of his mind. I hate those crows.

Mason was confused at first by this surprise thought, because it didn’t feel like his thought.  It felt almost as if somebody had placed it there and surrounded it in anger and hatred.  Those crows need to die.

Mason was suddenly surprised by his mother’s hands in front of him.  She was picking up his plate, muttering under her breath, “Waste of goddamn food…”

“Go play outside,” she said, almost sternly, “It’s nice out.”  Mason obliged and walked to the door to slip his dirty tennis shoes on.  They were originally white, but were so dirty and worn down that they almost blended in with the driveway.  Mason loved those shoes.  After slipping them on effortlessly, he ran outside into the tree-shaded yard.  The grass was light green, like it hadn’t been watered in little while, but the spots right around the tree trunks were still a darker, healthier green.  It almost made it look like the grass was polka dotted, which made Mason giggle a little as he saw it.  

Mason began to dig through the rocks near the side of the house.  He knew that he was looking for a specific type, but he didn’t really know what type or why.  It seemed like the shadow in the back of his mind knew, though.  It knew exactly what it was looking for.  After a couple minutes of finding rocks that were close, but not close enough, to what kind of rock he needed, Mason found a large piece of scrap granite.  This is perfect, he heard in the back of his head.  

He stood up and walked calmly toward the white wooden fence on the edge of the driveway.  On one of the fenceposts sat a crow, basking its dark feathers in the warm summer sun.  It was cawing profusely, as if giving a lecture to anything that could hear it.  Glancing at the kitchen window, Mason saw his mother watching him.  He stood about ten feet away from the bird, and as he looked upon it, he felt his arm raise up, rock in hand.  Almost in slow motion he felt his arm move forward, releasing the large rock towards the bird.  As the rock flew through the air, Mason felt a wave of excitement roll through his body.  His lips formed into a smile as the rock collided with the bird, the satisfying crunch of its fragile bones echoing through the yard, giving Mason a strange warm, almost fuzzy feeling deep in his chest.  He was enjoying watching the crushed body of the bird flying off the fence post and towards a tree.  It all happened in a split second, but Mason felt as if he had been feeling everything for hours, the warm feeling spreading from his chest down into the pit of his stomach slowly, as if it were molasses dripping slowly off of an apple hanging high in the branches of a tree.  Mason had never felt anything like it, and when he came back to reality, he felt an emptiness inside him as the feeling left.  

Mason walked slowly towards the tree where the crow had landed.  He came upon his rock, which had red blood dripping down it with black feathers stuck in the thick red drops.  About a foot from the rock laid the mangled body of the crow, its legs and one wing still twitching.  As Mason stood over the crow, he saw fear in its small black eyes as they stared up at him.  It felt almost like the crow was begging for Mason to save it.  Or to put it out of its misery.  The thought of killing the crow filled Mason’s head, taking over his body as he raised his dirty shoe about a foot over the bird’s head.  He took one last look at the pleading eyes of the crow, and slammed his foot down into its head.  Its skull and beak made a satisfying crunch as Mason brought his foot down.  

He had done it.  He had killed a crow.  Mason was surprised at first by his indifference towards the idea, but then the thought became more natural to him.  He realized that he had enjoyed killing it.  No matter how badly he was supposed to feel about what he had just done, he felt no such bad thoughts.  He had freed the life of the bird from its aggravating, cawing body.  He saved that crow, and prevented it from annoying his mother any further.  It was a win-win.

Mason looked up to see his mother running outside toward him.  “What the hell did you just do?!” she screamed at me, fear and horror in her eyes.

“The crows were bothering you,” Mason responded calmly, “so I made one of them stop.  He was still wiggling when I got to him, so I stepped on his head.  He’s dead now, and can’t bother you anymore.”  He smiled.

His mother stood there, a horrified look covering her face, and slowly reached out for Mason’s shirt, taking hold of a handful of my collar and pulling him with her back towards the house.  He became sad, because his mother seemed more mad at him than before.  He thought she would be proud of him, and reward him for being such a thoughtful son.  Instead, it felt like she was afraid of him.  He didn’t like making his mother angry or afraid.

Mason was afraid that his mother would yell at him or something, or tell his dad and have him yell at Mason, but she didn’t do either.  She didn’t even mention it when Mason’s dad came home after work.  As they sat at the dinner table, Mason’s dad just asked his mother the general questions: “How was your day?” and “Anything exciting happen?” Masons’s mother responded with the usual answers, “It was alright,” and “No, not really.”

Mason looked at her, as he had expected her to mention the crow situation, but she just continued to stiffly eat her freezer burned peas.  Mason was relieved.  

Over the next couple weeks, Mason played outside almost every day, but this time he did not see his mother in the window watching him.  Each day, he would find the same rock and wait by the fencepost for a crow to land.  A crow landed after a few minutes almost every time, minus a couple windier days.  Each day, Mason would throw the rock at the unsuspecting crows, his aim getting better the more he did it.  Many times the birds would die immediately, and he would not have to crush their skulls.  Mason loved when that happened, because he really enjoyed the shape of the crows’ heads, their beaks curving ever so slightly.  After he killed the crows, he would bury them in the sandbox.  After a couple of days, however, Mason became bored of simply burying the whole bodies of the birds.  One day, the fourth or fifth time, he tried ripping a crumpled wing off of the rest of the body.  He was pleasantly surprised by how easily the wing detached, the fragile tendons connecting the joints snapping like weak rubber bands.  Blood seeped from the hole left from the wing.  Pleased by his discovery, Mason ripped the other wing off as well, followed by the legs, and finally the head.  The head took a little more effort than the other parts, but Mason was still able to free it from the body.  He buried the head in one corner of the sandbox, the feet in another, and wings in the third, and the body in the final corner.  He began to do this to every crow after that, up until the very last one.  

One day, about a month later, Mason’s mother was babysitting their three year-old neighbor Jessica.  Jessica sat in the sandbox, happily running her hands through the soft, dry sand.  Mason sat nearby, twiddling a twig between his thumb and forefinger.  He watched nervously as Jessica ran her hands deeper and deeper into the sand.  Mason’s mother sat on a lawn chair in the driveway, sipping on a Diet Coke and absentmindedly thumbing through a magazine.  Mason wished she’d look over more often.  

Suddenly, Jessica let out a yelp of surprise and excitement and raised a small skull into the air.  The moment was perfect, as Mason’s mother glanced over when she heard the yelp and immediately jumped from her seat and walked briskly towards the sandbox.  Mason’s heart began beating faster as he grew more and more anxious.  His mother was finally going to see his little masterpiece.  As she descended upon Jessica, Mason’s mother quickly scooped up the young girl and carried her into the house.  About a minute later she came back out tentatively, each nervous step toward the sandbox seeming slower and slower as she walked.  When she finally arrived at the sandbox, Mason noticed she was carrying a garden spade. This is perfect, the voice said in his head.

Mason’s mother began digging, starting first in the corner where the first skull was found.  She ended up digging up several different skulls, placing them in a pile in the middle of the sandbox.  She then moved to the next corner, uncovering the wings, then on to the feet, and finally digging up the bodies in the last corner.  There were ten of each body part in total, with the exception of the skulls, for which there was only nine.  After she finished digging, she looked up at Mason with a confused face.  “Why?” she asked quietly.

“They won’t bother you ever again,” Mason responded calmly.  He was alarmed at first by the twinge of glee in his voice, but that glee immediately took over his dialogue as he continued to talk.  “See that skull over there?”  Mason pointed to the fence post, where a skull slightly bigger than the others sat, dried blood and feathers surrounding it.  “I think that was their leader.  The crows stopped showing up after I put his head there.”  Mason smiled, hoping the look of horror on his mother’s face would be replaced by excitement or proudness.  “He was the hardest to pull apart.”  His mother’s face contorted even further, as if she were about to cry or scream.

“Honey…-” she started, her voice trailing off as she spoke.

“Are you proud of me, Mommy?”

© Copyright 2020 Samuel Melby. All rights reserved.

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