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By Celia in UnderlandPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - February 2024
Dallee Generated

Lola’s steps were heavy as she trudged along the grey pavement. Her dull eyes cast downward avoiding contact as much as she could. It was relatively easy here in the inane bustle of the city, hidden amongst the crowd she did not have to concern herself with anyone noticing her. But still she hated it, the walk home from the library. The sounds were overwhelming -she felt them drilling into her mind. The all-encompassing screech of car tyres, the squeaky insiduous chalk board scrape of snipped conversations and the incessant beep. Beep. Beep. The recurring death of the traffic light crossing drowned her in noise. Noise everywhere she turned. Noise. Noise.

And in amongst it all the deafening, 'caw-caw-caw' of the crow.

The bird had first alighted on Lola's windowsill one drab October morning. Its feathers were tainted black from the spectrum of colours intermingling -its wings had spread wide in to the sky. In the sunlight, it had been a stark beauty against the muted backdrop of the city. It’s beak dark and pointed into a hooked question mark, it had settled in front of her preening nonchalantly. Distant but oddly familiar.

And now here it was again, exactly the same as always.

With each visit, the crow carried within its feathers both the calm and the storm. The past and the present- protecting and haunting simultaneously. Today, as the sounds screeched into her spirit- dragging the nails of intrusion across her face, she felt her hands trembling and her heart racing. The crow's piercing gaze staring into her soul. It knew. She knew that it knew. What exactly she could not pin point. It disconcerted her and comforted her somehow. It had become a fixture in her life, a silent observer. She was glad for the consitency.

Today, in the midst of her anxiety Lola paused, her breath catching in her throat as she locked eyes with the crow. For a moment, the waves threatening to overwhelm her into submission subsided, replaced by an inexplicable silence that seemed to shield her from the world.

She took a hesitant step forward, her gaze still fixed on the crow. Its sharp black eyes were unwavering- boring into her. It cocked its head gently, and with wings unfurled it flew slightly ahead of her. Lola felt the heavy weight of her decision.With uncharacteristic adandon, she decided to follow it's lead. It continued its flight, then paused, looking backwards as if ensuring she was still behind. She was. Lola navigated seamlessly through the city streets, the noise muffled and becoming increasingly far away like a memory she could not hold. Her steps became purposeful as she allowed the crow to guide her away from the well-trodden path she usually took home.

They arrived at an empty park, her heart still throbbing but her mind clear- softened by the call of the auburn leaves as they fell from Autumn trees. She breathed. The air felt cleaner, rejuvenating. She felt it fresh in her lungs. Sacred. The crow landed on a bench and waited for her to compose herself. Lola’s heart calmed, but in her veins she felt the liquid river of anticipation replace the thrashing, uncontrollable waves of fear. She sat down beside it.

"Thank you," she whispered into the wind.

The crow's pupils pierced into her, its gaze penetrating yet strangely gentle - nurturing, before outstretching its wings and soaring upwards into the dimming sky.

Lola watched silently, allowing the peace to settle into her

The crow had shown her a way through the chaos Another path. One that she would never have chosen for herself. On that sodden solitary bench she realised that the crow she had feared had been a guardian all along. Her hands instinctively reached to her locket; the only remnant of the mother she had ever known. Her fingers stroked the shape of the engraved bird.

She knew that she had finally met the woman who had died so that she would be born. She had been with her all along. Around her neck she would no longer carry the noose of anxiety and uncertainty but hold dear to her heart the unspoken vow of the crow—a promise of guidance, protection, and the beauty of the unexpected. As she sat on the bench under the dwindling light, she understood with a clarity she had never known; she would never see the crow again but it’s presence would be felt far beyond what her eyes could perceive.

MicrofictionShort StoryFantasy

About the Creator

Celia in Underland

Just a voice finding its echo. Teacher - reader-writer-cat lover. Wanderer. Weirder than a koala in The Arctic. Magpie for shiny words and stuff. Taking the scenic route home.

Admin @ FB VoIces in Minor

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Comments (21)

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  • JBaz2 months ago

    You took this story on a beautiful journey. What appeared to be a dark tale turned into a wonderful ray of sunshine. Spirit animals, or signs from beyond. Great, absolutely great. Congratulations

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!!

  • Manisha Dhalani2 months ago

    Congrats on top story!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Impressive!!! Loved it & congratulations on Top Story!!!💕♥️♥️

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Gina C.2 months ago

    Absolutely mesmerizing! I was captivating from start to finish; wonderful job!

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    Such a beautiful and creative story. Loved it....and the meaning behind it all.

  • Awww, the crow was soooo sweet to help Lola out like that! This was such a touching story and would remain close to my heart! Also, what does Anubhava mean? In Tamil, it means experience.

  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    I have such a soft spot for corvids. They are so often used as bleak symbols. So happy to see this one portrayed so beautifully.

  • Mark Gagnon2 months ago

    Liquid rivers of anticipation, what a great phrase. I found this intense and touching at the same time. Nicely done, Celia!

  • And will Lola now be ready to fly herself, to become guardian & guide not only of her own way but also that of another? Will there be room to allow another to enter in?

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Goodness, what a beautiful story. I was expecting some ominous, and was so pleasantly surprised where you took this. Beautifully done.

  • Love the image and the story

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Wow Celia, beautiful story! Reminiscent of how some cultures believe that crows or ravens carry the spirits of those who’ve passed on. Loved it!

  • Mother Combs2 months ago

    I so love crows! Excellent story.

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    Wonderful story, Celia! Love that you chose a crow as the messenger. You probably already know, but some Native American cultures believe they are both carriers of the souls of ancestors and guides to follow on journeys.

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    I like where you took us with this. I thought it was going to be macabre but it was uplifting.

  • Daphsam2 months ago

    Great story, love the mystical feel.

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    I had a grandmother like that, walked with me long after she went to rest. I think she is gone now, I no longer feel her presence. Beautiful story.

  • Cyrus2 months ago

    Love the ethereal imagery and theme of reincarnation, beautifully written!

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