I had fun writing this one (actually I’ve enjoyed writing all of these). Who do you think is seeing reality?
Creep Him Out
By Laura McHale Holland
Wendy bites her lower lip and steps outside. Today’s caw, caw, cawing pelts her ears like gunshot, causing her to stumble as she dashes, hands over her ears, from front porch to carport. Why the murder of crows gathers every so often in the pines shading her townhouse she doesn’t know.
Their blue-black bodies darken the trees; their yellow eyes follow her every move as she settles into her Mazda and fastens the seatbelt. She starts the engine and backs out of the drive. They follow, their cacophony penetrating her glass, steel and plastic refuge. They swarm from tree to tree in her wake as she speeds down familiar side streets on her way to work. She turns up the volume on her CD player, hoping Freddy Mercury’s voice soaring on Bohemian Rhapsody will embolden her. But the caws just intensify, and the music grows fainter each time she turns up the volume.
By the time Wendy reaches the office, her heart is pounding, her breath is coming in short bursts and she is sweating through her clothes. Hundreds of crows alight in the pine trees edging the parking lot. She turns off the engine but can’t bring herself to open the door. She sits. The crows quiet down. She knows they’ll go away if she waits long enough.
Inside, Wendy’s boss is looking out his window. He sees no crows, only Wendy, still as a mannequin in her car. Why she stares without blinking up at the trees instead of coming into the office he doesn’t know. It seems to happen every couple of weeks. And when she finally comes inside she smells like sautéed onions. It’s starting to creep him out.