A Confederacy of Crows

One night, when I was returning home from the bar, at around 2 a.m., I saw this high school playground. It was all dark and cloaked in shadow, but I could see some of the shadows moving.

Now I was a bit drunk, and I’ve never really been superstitious (although it just so happens I don’t cut my nails at night), so I stopped the car and walked to the fence. The playground, I saw, was teeming with crows, moving around, blending in with the shadows, all silent. That, I think, was the eeriest part. None of them made even a single sound.

They’d look at each other sideways, and they’d open and close their mouths, saying nothing. When I was in school, we had this little story as a lesson in a textbook, where this scientist chap teaches a crow how to speak and do other stuff. Looking at the crows in the playground, I could see why the writer thought it was a good idea. Crows look fucking smart. Who’s to say they aren’t. One of the crows saw me, and it made this little ‘kkk’ sound, like from the back of its throat, and the other crows started looking at me, all squinty, with their heads turned slightly to one side. I was thankful for the fence.

I saw the crows there every night for the next week or so. And there always seemed to be more and more. At first I thought it was some kind of crow orgy. But it seemed more like a communion, a gathering to discuss a plan.

Then one day, the crows weren’t there. It wasn’t like the number had gone down. They just didn’t come anymore. I think I walked in on some kind of conspiracy, because now there seem to be a lot more crows around me every time I go out. I don’t think they’re actually spying on me or something like that. In fact, it seems more like a guard. As if they’re saying, You’ll be fine. Trust us. It’s all in the look, really.