amwriting, Pagham-verse, The Crows

A Prelude: Love Song for The Crows

Illustration of Fairwood House, a.k.a. The Crows, by Thomas Brown: for original art and more see MothFestival on Etsy

Audio: instrumental soundtrack sample ‘Bell’, free download from Filmstro

The Crows Wakes

She saw it before it saw her.

She was another passer-by, a passenger in a Ford Mondeo. Just broken enough to hear it calling, but determined enough to pursue the call. 

The first time it saw her properly she was walking through its twisted gates, unafraid as the locals were of its shadows and scars and broken places. It felt each reverent step she took along the cracked path, treading lightly as though she were in a sacred space where shoes were profane. She slipped through the weeds and nettles, following a winding trail where once a straight, wide drive had been.

The murder of crows, gathered silently on the tall, weed-choked grass, took off at once in a dark ragged cloud of beating black wings. 

Its porch, its pediment partially collapsed and overgrown with ivy and creeping weeds, offered itself to her with anticipation in the breathless stillness of the afternoon light.

It saw her dimly through grime-obscured panes, watching as she took her first steps up to the grand entrance, sunbeams glinting softly over her thinning blonde hair. She could have been anyone. Done anything. It was used to a certain class of owner, but they had failed it. What did it matter what she did, who she was, if she was the One?

Her soft touch transferred the heat from her palm onto the mullion between its panels, infusing the whole door with tendrils of warmth. Heat blushed through the lock and the hinges, bleeding gently into the brick and seeping into the mortar. It spread around holes and crevices, ravaged by time and vandals, impregnating the plaster cracks and filling them with a cordial glow.

Its hinges moaned as she pushed, gentle but firm, her fingers trembling. After so many rough, forced entries by those who came stripping and stealing, this felt different.

Foliage and debris swirled in the brief gust as its proud door yielded to her careful pressure.

The inward suck of air left an anticipatory tension behind.

She stood still, holding her breath as she paused in the entrance, bright eyes full of wonder and teasing mischief. She took in the ruined splendour beyond the doorway, the contours of the oak panelling that lined the hall, the proud girth of the banisters of the grand staircase, erect and solid after all these years, and the cracks that ran through the aged plaster like varicose veins.

Then she entered.

The door swung behind her, taking her in, swallowing her up. She took a few steps across the tiles, adding her footsteps to the echoes of those that had gone before, but each step felt like treading virgin ground.

She closed her eyes, a chill shooting through her and a sense of certainty.

…YOURS, The Crows whispered as the floorboards settled above her head, and the wind rustled through the holes and cracks and crevices.

MINE, she felt, absorbing the thought as if it came from deep within herself.

It had her. The Crows creaked, victorious.

MINE.

This is not in the novel, it’s a prelude and an excuse to get more lyrical… the novel is coming soon! I now have an editor, and it’s looking like a January 2020 release date, so stay tuned for more! Sign up to my newsletter for updates and opportunities for free review copies. 

7 thoughts on “A Prelude: Love Song for The Crows”

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