She’s decided on macaroni.
What could possibly go wrong with macaroni? All you have to do is to boil it, then smother it in cheese sauce.
It’s absolutely essential that nothing go wrong.
Jon, Timothy, Sol, Freddie, Barry, Hugo, Ryan… what disasters she’d had with the meals she’d cooked for them.
Martin would eat her macaroni and love it.
She opens the fridge door, takes out cheese, cream, pepper, then pulls out the drawer for the cheese grater, a kitchen utensil she’s always been fond of.
No, no, Martin is absolutely not a shredded cheese guy. He’s more spicy tomato.
She replaces the cheese and cream in the fridge. Reaches for the last two tomatoes that remain in the plastic tub, some red pepper. She slices the slimy soft edges off the red pepper.
A soft rustling sound outside.
It’s only the crows. They always gather around dinnertime. In the trees, on the fence, the car tops and lamp posts and telephone wires. They aren’t any trouble. They make no sound, other than the soft rustling, just sit there and watch, their black feathers glistening in the light of the setting sun.
Sometimes she feels they are her guardians. Sometimes not. Most often she doesn’t give them them any thought at all.
A burning smell. Behind her, the pan of macaroni has boiled dry. She seizes the pan and holds it under cold water. It hisses and spits.
She scrapes at the blackened macaroni with a wooden spoon. The mess softens and takes shape.
A wing, a claw, a head, another wing, an eye, a beak, a tail.
The crow opens its wings and rises up from the blackened pan, brushing against her face. She smacks it away with her wooden spoon. It seizes her hair in its claws. She hits back with the spoon. It pecks at her nose, her chin, her cheek, her ear. She drops the spoon and whacks it with the pan while struggling to unfasten the window.
One last thwack sends the bird flying out through the window. It sinks onto the sidewalk, limp and bloodied.
The crows surround their injured friend. They stroke and nudge it with their beaks. They cock their heads, listening to its mournful cries.
They glance up at the open window then at each other, eyes luminous.
One by one they fly up, land on the sill and slip inside.
But she doesn’t notice. She’s looking at the mess in her kitchen. Now she’ll have to clean the floor as well as make fresh macaroni. And she has no more tomatoes.
2016 is my year of the Blurt: each week I’ll take advantage of a spare moment or two (or five) to write something very quickly. Probably the Blurts will mostly be fiction, but who knows!
Thank you for dropping by to read this week’s Blurt. It was inspired by the Daily Prompt’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime.
I’m also putting this under the Daily Post’s Discover Challenge: Risk because the story “takes a different angle” from what I’ve posted here so far.
Please note: all material on this website, except for comments by others, is © Susi Lovell.
I noticed this on the discovery challenge and since I have a lot of crows around me I was attracted to your story. The macaroni tale was amusing enough but then the twist into a Hitchcock horror movie was brilliantly executed. I shall be friendly to our crows…
Thank you. I have to say that finding the story going into horror mode was a surprise to me. That’s not my usual style. I was quite nervous about posting it so am really pleased you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know.
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Love the story and how you used the Crows. I love crows. They are so darn intelligent so I can easily see them doing this. And a crow out of burned macaroni? Marvelous!
I once saw a video that showed crows working out how to get through a dozen or so obstacles in order to get their food. And apparently they recognize people who are nice to them and those who are not! Thanks for reading the story.
It’s pretty unique and strange.
Thank you….I’m taking it that ‘unique and strange’ is a compliment?!! I wrote it in a cafe that had packets and packets of pasta and macaroni for sale. But the crows? Not sure about that. Thanks for dropping by and reading my story.
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Well, the comment is a compliment. I am fan of the strange and unique or good writing in general. The character seemed like they were in their own head.
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Thank you very much.