Brother Todd and the Adventure of the Crows

Outside the hospital flew a murder of crows.  The city’s full of them this time of year.  Black shapes darting about the blue.  I liked seeing them, but my thoughts always turn to Hitchcock when I do.  It’s the bend of the mind, you know.

Brother Todd and I were on our way home from visiting Dad.  Things were improving apace and we expected him home on Monday (which he did.)  Our talk was cheerful, if not memorable.

We reached the car.  Todd was already at the passenger side door.  I had just walked to the other side.

Then, without warning, this noise went off in the distance.  Firework, one of the whiz-bang varieties.  I turned back towards the sound to check it out.  This allowed me to see what has got to be one of the most awe-inspiring sights of my life.  Grand Canyon?  The Alaskan Coast?  Disneyland?  In the neighborhood, let me tell you.

Todd  heard me say “Whoa,” in a staggered tone.  Thus he, too, caught sight of the sky around the hospital vanishing from view.  Hundreds of crows, frightened by the firework, had all taken flight at once.  What had been a few spiraling shapes was now a massive cloud.

A small bit of exposition here.  The hospital has a helicopter pad on the roof.  Helicopters and birds don’t get along.  Thus the occasional loud noise to encourage them to go elsewhere.

These dots I might have connected when I watched this spectacle, slack-jawed and amazed.  Todd, however, had been working on another picture entirely.  He said, “Get in the car, Cullen.”

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand the urgency in his voice.  When he said it again, my thoughts were of again of Hitchcock and a baby brother over reacting.

Then, finally, the shoe dropped on the connection he made.

When birds take off, they like to leave… souvenirs on the ground behind them.

Now a story like this deserves a slam-bang finish.  Or at least a splat-splut one.  Not going to happen here, I’m afraid.  After darting into the car as quickly as this out of shape body could take me, we waited a few minutes for the expected shower, and when none arrived, I can only say it felt anticlimactic.

No doubt when the firework went off, so too did the crows.  As it were.

However, I now know how well I react in a crisis.  When the zombies finally arrive (or the crows begin to live up to their group name), I’ll be Victim #1.

I’m so thrilled.

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7 Replies to “Brother Todd and the Adventure of the Crows”

  1. Funny. But what freaked me out when I had the opportunity to visit Orlando, Florida were the indigenous birds that flew around the hospitals, there. VULTURES. Yes, that’s right – VULTURES. Not African vultures, mind you – but a smaller species (all black). When I first saw one, on the side of the road – I thought it was a crow. But, no. The neck gave it away. I said; “Holy sh_t – that’s a VULTURE” (as if the alligators weren’t sufficient). The locals (and Google) confirmed my suspicions. Can you imagine – you’re being whisked to the hospital, in an emergency. You look up and see….VULTURES circling overhead. How lovely…

  2. What killed Florida for me was the boa constrictors. Not that I’ve been that far east and seen them myself mind you – last time I was in that general location I was a wee infant – it’s just I’m not a big snake person. I prefer little snakes. Little non poisonous snakes. Little non poisonous snakes that run away from you when you come.

    You know. Garter snakes.

  3. The scary bit of the story is in, I think, one of Lovecraft’s bits, “The Dunwich Horror.” If I recall correctly, when the mother of the twins finally passed, the crows were ascendant. They cawed for all the world.

    Erm, sorry that this doesn’t seem to portend well. If you do meet some flaming figure who demands a sacrifice, you can give ’em my name. I’m ready.

  4. Oh… The quote about the “devil bought”…

    “For it is of old rumour that the soul of the devil-bought hastes not from his charnel clay, but fats and instructs the very worm that gnaws; till out of corruption horrid life springs, and the dull scavengers of earth wax crafty to vex it and swell monstrous to plague it. Great holes secretly are digged where earth’s pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl…”

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