With a Murder (of crows) Comes Magic


When Abby dragged me to her witchy gran’s that afternoon, finding myself sat across from Mrs. Abernathy in the front room on tweed armchairs under her unwavering, disapproving gaze was par for the course.  Abby’s little sister, Anne, not so much.

Eight-years-old and proud of it, she bounced around like a golden retriever whose owner has just come home.  All while wearing a pair of overalls, bright pink socks, a purple tutu, and a shirt that said Practically perfect in every way.

“Anne, settle, okay?” Abby said.  I looked over at where she stood in the doorway, arms crossed.  She looked…anxious?  Abby?  A cold knot formed in my gut.

“Wait–!”  Anne hopped up onto the couch and from the corner of my eye, she cocked her hand back.  Before I could flinch, or raise my own hand to block the oncoming assault, she unleashed an entire fistful of glitter over me.

“Anne Abernathy!” Abby chased her off the couch, talking over Anne’s insistence that glitter made the magic more real.

Mrs. Abernathy and I just looked at each other as glitter fell around me.  To Anne’s credit, I felt a bit like I was in a snow globe.  Albeit, a snow globe collected by a musty, cranky old crazy cat lady.

As if summoned by my thoughts, Caesar, an ancient orange tomcat, sprang up to the arm of Mrs. Abernathy’s chair.

“Now that the atmosphere has been set,” she said, without a hint of irony, “We’ll get this over with.”

She settled back in her chair, rubbing Caesar behind the ears.  I watched her watch me.  I wanted to dust the glitter out of my hair but didn’t want to give her the image.  Abby was still wrangling Anne somewhere upstairs.

When she didn’t say–or do–anything, I said, “Aren’t you going to read my future?  Deal some cards?  Do that voodoo that you do?”  My slight jazz hands gesture dislodged a drift of glitter, sending sparkles raining in my face.

“What do you know of crows, Mr. O’Reilly?” she said.

“Crows?  Uh…that they’re a murder?”

Her eyes tightened as if in disapproval.  What?  They were a murder, weren’t they? What did she want from me?

She looked out the window, her eyes relaxing until she seemed almost sad.  “‘A glooming peace this morning with it brings; the sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.'”

“Uh–?  That’s a nice turn of phrase.”  Whatever it meant.

“It’s Shakespeare.  Appropriate for this tragedy.”  She sniffed hard and set herself at the edge of her seat, grabbing a pipe and tobacco tin from the side table.  Her nails were bright red.  Also appropriate for this tragedy?

“What tragedy?”

As if cued, the stairs creaked and Abby stopped on the second to last stair, bracing a hand on each rail.  Her cheeks were flushed from dealing with Anne; her eyes were wary.  All traces of the ice cream for breakfast Abby were gone, like a light gone out.  Trips to her gran’s really blew.

“Mr. O’Reilly, it is my duty to inform you that you are a sorcerer, probably a very powerful one, and it is in everyone’s best interest–namely, safety–that you agree to become my apprentice so you may discover your powers and learn to control them.  Do you agree?”

Everyone stared at me, even Caesar the cat.  From upstairs, Anne yelled, “Has he said yes to be Gran’s apprentice yet?” and when I turned in the direction of her voice, glitter showered past my face, like a spell had been cast.

Hey y’all!

Today’s prompt was red nail polish / glitter / dawn

So I am seriously digging this challenge so far.  For the past three days, I haven’t really felt like writing, but I’ve somehow disconnected myself from that feeling and leaned into the work anyway.  It’s actually a wonderful feeling!  I’m focusing and buckling down and getting it done and I’m finding that, despite how there’s a pinch of ugh in there from having to do “work,” I’m loving the feeling of getting something done.


This piece is a continuation (a part two, if you will) of yesterday’s post and I really liked how it turned out.  I think I could’ve amped up the voice in some areas, but I struggled doing that while also keeping the word count down and the piece concise.  I chose my details carefully, picking out the ones that I could most aptly convey in the MC’s voice.

Tomorrow’s prompt is paint / ripped jeans / art gallery

If you’d like to join me and my writing friend, John Mastro, in this 30 Day Restart Challenge as we stretch our writing muscles before our MFA residency, check out the prompt page here!

And what do you y’all think of my new header?  Done by yours truly!


One thought on “With a Murder (of crows) Comes Magic

  1. Digging the new header!!!
    Another neat entry! I really liked the voice of the voodoo grandmother, I found I pictured it very well… Though it’s hard to say if my image is what you were going for :) And Shakespeare… Nice inclusion! If you like The Bard, take a peek at today’s post on my blog.
    Having a fantastic time doing this challenge with you, and I’m glad to see you fighting through the “Ugh’s”! Your enthusiasm and support are making this equally rewarding for me, too.


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