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A Murder of Crows

by V. Hughes

The wind’s desperate grasp strips the frail leaves from the silver maple but the giant looks as if it still wears its finery, a borrowed dress perhaps, with the murder of crows gathered within its branches. The girl listens to the soft flutter of wings, stretches out her hand to catch a single black feather as it drifts down in a slow spiral. When the stiff plume makes contact with her skin the birds alight and she gasps, even though she has already seen their departure.

The girl watches the murder grow smaller. She watches the empty leaden skies for a long time, until the shadows of the night form and Morgan comes for her.

“They’re gone.”

Morgan follows her gaze into nothing. “Just like you said.”

The girl tucks the feather into the breast pocket of her heavy flannel work shirt. “Is Sirin okay?”

Morgan looks down at the girl. “I haven’t seen her since breakfast.”

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