Free Short Story: The Crows’ Present

Introduction

Hey. This is a short story canon in my universe. It got rejected as a submission. I figured I’d just offer it for free. Hope you like it.

Genre: Gothic, Horror

Content Warning: Gore

The Crows’ Present

Iridescent feathers, the color of the midnight sky, shone in the sun as two crows looked toward the horizon where it was setting. The sky was growing dark not only because of the shift from a short day to a long night, but from snow clouds that were closing in. Pines with swaying branches surrounded the crows, somewhat close to the asphalt of a sideroad. There had been no signs of a vehicle for quite a while now, not that it would bother the creatures here. A frigid wind ruffled the crows’ feathers as they shivered somewhat, but were not deterred from their mission. 

I’ll find something shiny on him,” one crow said telepathically to his companion in a deep voice. He was poking around something squishy with his beak, moving to raise a claw and push aside some deep blue fabric in the process. 

The other crow replied after a pause. While the male crow had nothing extra in terms of appearance, aside from his deep crimson eyes, this one had a few purple feathers here and that made her look streaked in the color. Like his, her eyes were a gleaming red. She replied to him with her own mind’s voice, saying, “This might be a waste of our time, boss. We killed him an hour ago. He is starting to stink because of the released bowel bullshit that corpses do. Maybe we should bury the body. We would be out of here by now if you didn’t keep getting distracted by–

The male crow looked up, the lower part of his beak dropping. Snowflakes glided gently down from the clouds, causing him to squawk with glee. There was not enough to cover the crimson stain on the pure white snow, a beautiful contrast in the setting sun that painted a picture of gore and mercilessness. Some of the blood stained the feathers of the crows as they hopped around.

The male ignored the mangled body for now, flying up toward a tree and snapping his beak toward the clouds in an attempt to catch some snowflakes. He annoyed a squirrel that was going about its business, receiving a series of curses in a squeaky tone that he couldn’t understand one bit. He was too preoccupied by his little winter dance on the night of the solstice, celebrating the slaying of their victim. 

He landed on a branch and walked back and forth, doing a little spin to shake his tail feathers. They were covered with tiny flakes, not weighing him down too much as he often shook himself out. He puffed out his feathers, snapping up several snowflakes and avoiding acorns thrown his way. He let his tongue loll out toward the squirrel, who shook its fist and continued trying to hit its target… Wham! Well, one hit the crow in the noggin, causing him to shake his head and let out an annoyed squawk. 

The female crow, meanwhile, sighed and continued to inspect the corpse. A detached limb lay bleeding into the snow, some fingers ripped off and strewn about, bits of bone adding to the atmosphere’s ‘decoration’. The chest cavity was torn completely open, bits of viscera and broken ribs lying strewn everywhere. Fluids, mostly blood, oozed out of many laceration wounds, severed disembodied parts dripping with it as well. A socketless skull, for the eyes had been ripped from it and were laying next to the head, one squished, stared up into the sky. What pain had this person gone through before their extremely gruesome death?

Next to the corpse was a heart with several bites taken out of it, like someone had treated themselves to a well-marinated steak. The female crow passed this by, examining the body a tad more to see if she or her companion missed anything. She turned her head, looking for any sort of bag on this fellow, but there was nothing of interest to be found. She’d already done a decent search of the body, finding no shiny objects to bring back to the flock. 

She called out telepathically, “We could have been done a half hour ago, boss. You confirmed there were no more here when we butchered this asshole. Come do your final search so we can go home. I want to get some hot chocolate and read a book by the fire.

The male crow, still distracted by the snow coming down harder and harder, let out a disappointed caw! and ruffled his feathers. He mockingly did a goofy dance upon the branch of a tree, taking his sweet time. Another acorn hit him in the head, almost causing him to topple out of the tree because of the imbalance. Getting the hint, he finally landed before the corpse. He pecked through the corpse’s clothing, humming telepathically, before letting out a squawk. The clothing revealed nothing, but the mouth? Oh my, something was there. “OH! OH OH! I FOUND SOMETHING!” 

His red eyes were focused on the open jaws of their victim. Curiously, knife-like teeth were in full view, bloodied from a ripped-out tongue. The male crow disgustingly hopped over to the edge of the victim’s jaw, peering in and clicking his beak in delight. His claws hooked into the lips, causing a bit more leakage of blood from the holes since he didn’t bother to be delicate. He plunged his beak into the corpse’s mouth, causing a snort of distaste to emit from the female crow. 

Tug… Tug…. Tug…

After a sickening, fleshy, tearing noise, a glint caught the eye of the female bird. In the male crow’s beak was a golden, knife-like tooth, stained red with blood aside from a few areas that glinted in the sunset. The avian hopped over to a patch of clean snow and placed the slightly glittering tooth on the ground. He let out a chirp and said to the female bird, “Gee. Ain’t it pretty? I could turn it into a necklace. That would send a message, wouldn’t it? Wonder how they lost a tooth that they couldn’t grow back… Probably gouged out by silver or something. More shinies for us.

The female crow shook her head and commented, “Gross, boss.” She hopped over and tapped the male crow with her wing. “Let’s head out. Come on, did you hear me before? I want to go read.

The male crow finally stopped messing around, letting out a few cawing chuckles. He looked up to the sky, his red eyes glittering, before saying, “What a prize for me on the solstice. I didn’t think I’d find a shiny like this. Oh I love it so so much. Fancy fancy shit, all for me.” 

Suddenly, a flash of blue light filled a small radius. Standing where the male crow had been was a tall humanoid with lithe musculature under a black leather jacket and pants decorated with chains. He had a side-shaved haircut with ebon hair that appeared dipped in blood. He had several piercings, including spider bites on his lip and hoops on his eyebrows. His bleach-bone pale skin was littered with laceration scars. His pointed ears jingled from his piercings as he leaned down and plucked the golden tooth out of the snow with his jet-black claws. He grinned, displaying a jaw full of dagger-like teeth.

The female crow hopped over, spreading her wings and shifting as well. After a flash, she was standing there in similar clothing with a similar haircut, but her dark hair was streaked with purple. Her midnight-toned skin also had many scars, and she displayed tons of piercings like the other vampire, including several hoops on her lip, a few spikes on her eyebrow, a nose ring, snake bites, a tongue piercing, and spikes going down her pointed ears. Around her neck was a chain, and attached to that were a pair of small purple plush dice. She drummed her claws on her leather pants, her red eyes gleaming, bored like a cat’s would be when waiting for a meal.

She flashed her own array of dangerous fangs at Ares and punched him lightly on the shoulder. “Why do you always have to be so creepy?!” she said with a growl. Several snowflakes settled into her hair, which she reached up to brush off gently. This, of course, would be futile. “And you take forever. Come on, boss. Let’s go home. You can take the shiny tooth from the vampire you took a bite out of with you.” Under her breath, she muttered, “You creepy ass cannibal.”

Ares laughed toward Clarice and lunged at her, causing her to squeal. He dispensed some noogies onto her noggin, then let her go. She let out a shout and pounced toward him as he rushed away from her, boyishly giggling. The vampires vanished into the horizon toward a well-lit city, leaving behind the unfortunate corpse. 

Snow fell more rapidly, the flakes growing fatter as they landed on the stiff corpse of the abandoned vampire. As night fell, a coyote wandered by, wanting one more meal before turning it in for the night. Gnashing jaws made further mess of the corpse as the canine fed–a belly full of dead vampire was quite satisfying, after all. 

The corpse was left there, missing their golden tooth, to be fed on by hungry animals in passing over the next several days. 

Well, given their situation, they wouldn’t be missing their tooth anyway. 

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