Story Time: The Patient’s Fever

Hi all,

This is an The Annals of the Crows story. Though you it’s great on its own, it’s better with its buddies on the Ongoing Series page! Also, please feel free to set the atmosphere with our The Annals of the Crows playlist.

The Patient’s Fever

Gwen Cosmos

The fly was dancing on his head and whispering its disapproval. A hand came into his vision and made the fly fly away. Then, a cool white cloud touched his head, dribbling water onto his face.

Someone spoke, but the words were too soft to make out.

In the corner, a crow stood watching. It never blinked. Uncomfortable, he shifted beneath the sheets. He didn’t like those unblinking glass eyes.

Another voice spoke and his eyes shifted to a pair of people beside him, though their faces were blurred.

The fly landed on his arm and was whispering again. He tried to move to swat it, but his arms were too heavy.

The crow moved closer. It leaned over him, those dark eyes nearly catching him, but he couldn’t focus.  That damn fly was being so rude.

“He’s leaving us.”

His vision was growing dark. He didn’t remember closing his eyes, but now he couldn’t see, and then it didn’t matter because he was gone.

***

The acrid smell of death hit him fast and sure like a punch to the gut, bringing him quickly to consciousness. Gagging, he heaved to his side, hitting his face against a bare foot, darkened with rotting flesh. With a shout, he heaved himself away, only be caught by a cold, stiff hand. Then he saw the bright fire, and a face staring out of it at him with dull blue eyes. He couldn’t look away, gripped by the sunken gaze as the face around it became twisted and charred with heat and smoke.

He was finally freed from that stare when he heard a pistol cock and felt cold metal against his temple.

“Are you human?” The voice, muffled and feminine, came from the safe end of the pistol

He started crying, scared that any movement would end what little life he had left.

“If you’re human, then, by the gods, answer! Or else I’ll have no choice but to put a bullet in your brain.”

He sniffled. “I’m human.” He shook his head. “What else would I be?”

The woman moved her pistol away with a sigh. Now free to move, he tried to push himself up, quickly finding himself aided by his new companion. She was a crow, dressed all in black with her beaked mask. He could see his own withered form reflected in her violet glass eyes.

“If you are truly human, then I won’t hurt you,” she soothed

“What happened to me?”

“I’m not sure.” She shook her head. “The other doctors need to see you.”

He dropped his head. “What will happen?”

“I don’t know, but where else can you go?” Gently, she took his arm and lifted him to his unsteady feet. “Lean on me. I’ll get you there.”

“What happened to my family?”

“I don’t know.” The crow started walking, pulling him along. “But once you are safe, I promise I will go find out.”

Behind them, the fire continued to sear itself into the street as they limped their way to the nearest hospital.

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