Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Madness of Crows: Part Three

ANNIE HAD BECOME AFRAID for Tess, because Fair Hollow had its secrets and they'd be like poison to Tess's fragile psyche.
    When Tess's aunt called Annie to tell her that Tess had been temporarily hospitalized, Annie knew what had struck the girl whose mother had encountered Them.

As Annie stepped into the hospital room, she noticed the walls were bare of any paintings. Tess was white and shadowy-eyed in the bed, and, as Annie sat beside her, Tess whispered, "Annie....he stood there...and his skin was white and he smiled at me and the crows came all bloody from his mouth..."
    Annie lifted her gaze to the stricken face of Tess's aunt,who didn't understand why Tess should never have come to Fair Hollow.

As Tess slept, her Aunt Lucia told Annie about Tess's mother, who, in their Chilean town, had once entered an abandoned house on a dare. Years ago, a girl had killed herself within, and, because the nightingales which nested nearby were sometimes found dead with blood beading their feathers, the suicide was called the Nightingale Girl. Tess's mother had gone into that house when she'd been twelve years old. She had emerged pale as paper, and shaking. She'd never told anyone what she'd seen.
    She'd seen the dangerous kind, Annie knew. The ones who inhabited neglected places, old bridges, graveyards, derelict buildings. The children of nothing and night.
Three days later, Tess had become catatonic.
    But Annie knew it wasn't Tess in that hospital bed.
(Illustration: Gustave Moreau)

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