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The Crows

by 322sivart


“Won’t you come here, love?”

“Sure, love.”

Eugene silently paced his way from the kitchen to his bedroom, mail in hand and still wearing his black leather shoes and grey suit. A thin mist rose from the red tip of his cigarette and every so often a cloud of white smoke would erupt from his thick-lipped mouth.

Next to the bed there was a sliding door which led to a balcony, which overlooked the dull, grey ocean where large, white birds would fly slow and stupid along the beach underneath the keen eye of the sharp crows from the city behind the shore. Penelope eyed the handle of the sliding door with an open mouth and a twisted jaw. When she noticed her husband’s entrance into the bedroom, she spun herself around on the bed to face him and bent her long, thin legs into the air.

“How was work today?”

“Oh, just fine, Jack got a promotion, you know.” He walked over to the bed and sat on its edge near his wife and took off his uncomfortable shoes.

Penelope glared. “Did you say Jack got a promotion, or Jack got the promotion?”

Eugene sighed. “Jack got the promotion.”

“How many times did you blink?”

“One too many, I suppose. How was work for you today?”

“Not too bad. Lisa got laid off today, God bless her.”

“Poor woman; hasn’t she had that job for close to twenty years?”

“Close to it, I think.”

Eugene looked down at his feet, and then lay down on the bed, facing his wife. A gentle, earnest hand touched Penelope’s face, and began stroking its fingers through her dark hair.

“Eugene, that door handle’s broken.” She nodded in the direction of the sliding door.

“It’s been broken for some time now, love, hasn’t it?”

“It has, but it’s really bothering me.”

“Why is that? It’s not like anyone can get into our apartment.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course, love.”

“Love, I’m not just talking about people, you know. Other things can get into our apartment, too.”

“Like what, love? If people can’t get in, who can? I really don’t understand you, Penelope. You’re saying things that are rather strange, don’t you think?”

“Eugene, do you know what crows do to people?”She wrapped her arms around her muscular, timid husband and pulled herself closer to him.

“I don’t know what you’re-“

“They eat people, Eugene. Dead or alive, they eat people. And you know, they can easily get in now because of the broken door. If a few of them, say five or six of the little bastards figure out that our door is broken, all they have to do is claw and chew at the glass until they make their way inside and eat the flesh off our bones. Isn’t that right, Eugene?”

Eugene looked at his hands, and then sighed, slowly raising his eyes to meet his wife’s. “Yes, love, that’s right.”

She began stroking his hands, and then took one of his hands and placed it against her cheek. “Eugene, I need to tell you something. And I know this may be hard to take in. That’s why I’ve been sitting here for maybe an hour, maybe more, thinking about how I would break this to you. I mean, look at me, love. I’m a mess.”

Eugene stared at his wife, open-mouthed, unwary but anxious, and wrapped his hand behind her neck to pull her in and kiss her forehead with his large lips. Her green eyes looked up at him, and she wrapped both of her arms around her husband’s neck and locked her lips in his, as they pulled each other in closer and closer. After a few moments, Penelope pushed herself away from him and rubbed her hands against her face.

“Eugene, I got fired today. I’m out of a job.”

“Fired or laid off?”

“I was fired, Eugene.” She turned away from her husband and hid her face in shame.

“Did Kelly tell you why?”

“She didn’t. She doesn’t have to, you know.”

“Do you think it was…” his voice trailed off.

“What?”

“Do you think it was because of that thing you did?” Eugene backed slightly from his wife, in somewhat of a wary instinct to her reaction.

“OF COURSE IT WAS BECAUSE OF THAT THING I DID! I’M A FUCKING MONSTER, EUGENE! SHE HAD NO CHOICE!” Hair sprawled all over her beautiful face and makeup running down her face with the tears; Penelope collapsed into her husband’s arms and bawled.

Eugene gently stroked her hair and kissed her on top of her head. “It’s okay, love. We’ll figure out something, won’t we?” He rested his head against hers.

Penelope kissed his neck and then his lips gently, and then pulled away from him. “I’ve already thought of something, love. I think you’ll like the idea.” She reached over across the bed and went into one of the drawers inside her night table, and pulled out a steak knife, glimmering and sharpened.

“Eugene”, she handed her now shuddering husband the knife, “I want you to take this knife, and use it to cut off a piece of my face.”

“What-“

“Just do it, love. I guarantee you it’s going to feel great for the both of us.”

“What the fuck are you saying?”

“Eugene, love, I’m your wife. Don’t speak that way to me. Now cut off a piece of my fucking face.”

“What are you say-“

“Do it!”

Eugene took a few steps away from the bed. “Penelope, I swear, I think I have to call-“

“You’re not calling anyone, Eugene. You trust me, don’t you? Please trust me. Do it.”

Eugene, shivering with sweat dripping from his curly hair, walked over to his wife, now sitting on the edge of their bed. Knife in hand, he brought her face closer to his, resting her head on his shoulder and he kissed her on the cheek.

“Right there, love; cut that out right there.”

Eugene’s tears were salty.

He let out the last heaving sobs and slowly pushed his knife-wielding hand toward Penelope’s cheek, until it rested on her pale skin.

“Make a cut, love.”

He bit his lip as the rolling tears stumbled at the tip of his chin. “I really don’t understand, Penelope-“

“Make a cut, Eugene.”

Gently at first, he began to press the steel knife into her skin, not yet cutting it, but then he began to pull it back, ripping the blade through his wife’s white skin and pink flesh, a smooth red trail making its way down her soft cheek. And then he tilted his blade up slightly, and began to carve upwards a piece of her face, now sobbing and moaning, only sane still in the suspension of his own disbelief.

And then the cut was made. Penelope was smiling, as she took the piece of her face into one of her hands and began to

run it between her fingers.

“That felt really good, love. You really did a great job.” The beautiful Penelope, cheek missing with a clear view of her teeth and jaws from the side of her face, placed the bleeding chunk of flesh in front of her on the bed. She then reached over to the same drawer from where she took that first knife, and from it she took another, identical aside from its lack of a red stain.

“Now, Eugene. It’s my turn.”

Eugene’s eyes flashed and his hands shook at his sides. “P-P-Penelope, are you sure that didn’t really-“

She put her finger to his lips. “Calm yourself, love. I told you it feels good. Now steady yourself, Eugene.”

And within a few hours, the bodies of Eugene and his Penelope had neatly been put into their respective piles on the bed, with their bare skeletons lying on either side. And once the crows saw what had happened, they broke their way through the sliding door of the apartment and proceeded to eat their flesh, piece by piece.


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Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:16 am
Kafkaescence wrote a review...



Alright. Here I am. It seems like I can never get to your works within any decent amount of time, and I apologize about that. My summer is pretty much free from here onwards, so if you have anything else for me to look at, you probably won't be having to wait weeks and weeks for me to get to it. Okay then.

I must say, Siv, I enjoyed this. Or is enjoyed too cheerfully connotated a word? It would not be a lie to say that this was, in all senses, disgusting (and I do say, Siv - you've got quite the taste for gore, be this good or bad) - but neither would it be a lie to suggest that the level of grossness which a piece bears defines its excellence. For some - the superficial, perhaps, or the cowardly - but not for any writer or person with any perceptive ability. Because the gore is there for a reason, Siv - a reason I believe you had set your eye on as you were writing this, but I have yet to find out. You have for me a nice puzzle; I will, in this review, attempt to solve it and, if needed, critique what must be critiqued.

I think, to begin things, we should set a goal for this discussion: something that we will work towards. This goal should be something within reach, but should be difficult to achieve; if we are to achieve it, all else should, if not already solved, quickly fall into place. What should it be? It's obvious, of course. Our goal will be to discover, with the utmost precision, what it is that the crows in your story represent.

It's obvious, also, that the representation of the crows is a sophisticated one - can we not see this in the way they are feared so much by Penelope? We can assume that this has something to do with the event that Penelope seems so ashamed of (The details of this event must not, as you quite deliberately excluded them, be important. All we apparently need to know is that she is ashamed of it.). This simple logic would have it that the crows are the embodiment of shame or regret. Shall we test this?

If the crows are Penelope's shame, then it is easy to see how it would turn out that the crows end up eating her. But...they don't eat her alive, do they? They eat the fragments of her body that had been carved off her skeleton (I think I can rightly call that piece of imagery macabre.).

Two things are bothering me at this point. First is the fact that Penelope asked Eugene to cut a piece of her face off in the first place, why she found it so desirable. Second, why was Eugene made to suffer as well?

I'll now brainstorm some candidates to answer our first question, as simply assuming that a single one is correct without proper organization of my thoughts would lead to nothing.

-The crows, or her shame, had somehow infected her flesh, and she wanted to cast it off before the shame reached her core, in this case, her bones.
-Penelope knew that she was doomed, and that she stood no chance against the crows. She wanted to die pure. So she cut off all that could be tainted, all that is weak, and left only the strong part of her: again, her bones.
-The shame had mastered her, and she became just as good as the crows, tearing away her flesh just as they would have done.
-Similar to the second proposal, except that Penelope's endeavor's were an attempt to feed the crows.
-Penelope knew what was coming, and preferred to do it herself instead.
-Penelope thought that pain or death would somehow make things easier for herself.
-The hard work that the jobless days ahead entailed were too much for her.

While the first and third are attractive (The final four are naught but an attempt to justify my use of the word "brainstorm" - really, the probability that any of them are correct is thin.), both you and I must know that it is the second that is our answer, because only it possesses implications that also provide a suitable answer to the second question. So, why must Eugene suffer? Because Penelope also knows that his fate will be the same if the crows come, because the crows flock to anyone who feels shameful, and we know because of the fact that Eugene blinked "one too many times" that he feels some amount of shame as well.

Penelope is trying to...save Eugene.

So this is not a story of savagery or hatred, as at first it appears to be. How...elegant.

Good work, Siv.

-Kafka

P.S. - If I'm wrong, as I possibly could be, don't be afraid to PM me and tell me where my logic failed. I would really appreciate it.

P.S.S. - Oh - there's a nitpick that I forgot to point out. I wasn't really paying too much attention to grammar, so there might be a few others that I missed. Then again, there might not.

#FF0000 ">Eugene,#FF0000 "> she said, #FF0000 ">she handed handing her now shuddering husband the knife, “I want you to take this knife, and use it to cut off a piece of my face.”




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Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:43 pm
Kafkaescence says...



I haven't forgotten about this! I'll be leaving for a few days shortly, but I'll review this more or less the minute I get back, kay?




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Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:54 pm
shagy91 wrote a review...



I think of it as a story for a horror movie, but a funny one. The idea of being fired from her job with all that love from her and her husband leading to blood is so funny, which keeps the story in a circle just like the other horror stories... only dead and pain mixed with love... what more funny stuff could be given?
Continue the skipped details so the horror story would be perfect.
Keep the Good stuff going...




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Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:45 am
anasn2 wrote a review...



This made me laugh so hard!
When I reached the bottom where it says respective piles my throat just roared out with laughter. You had me with an open mouth close to the screen reading through it. I remember saying to myself : "ok, what next?!", at the part of where Penelope asks Eugene to cut a piece out of her cheek. Though you know what? I would make it a tiny bit longer, it would be nicer getting into more detailed events of what they did. I really liked it, keep up the good work.





Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.
— Maya Angelou