Friday, July 23, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #34

Sparklies
by Sandra Cormier


I tore along Main Street North on my ten-speed, a jockey urging her mount down the stretch. Tightly packed houses became scattered country homes. I stopped to catch my breath and heard the crow before I saw it.

It perched on a split rail fence and regarded me with one yellow eye. It didn't caw – it spoke.

"Sparkle," it said.

My initial disbelief turned to matter-of-fact acceptance. If magpies could talk, why couldn't crows? "Are you someone's pet?" I asked.

It responded with unintelligible sounds like a voice from a tinny transistor radio. It hopped along the cedar rail, stopping periodically to watch my progress as I pushed my bicycle in cautious pursuit. At the end of the fence the bird spread its ebony wings and fluttered to the ground, continuing its course into a patch of tall grass.

I laid my bike in the ditch and crawled across the ground. Warm, dry grass pressed crisscross imprints into my palms. Deep in the thatch, something glittered. The crow watched as I pushed the fronds aside.

Nestled in the shadows among toy cars and rusty watches were three gems – blue, red and crystalline.

I gathered them up. "They're not real," I told the crow as I sat in the ditch and watched the late afternoon sunlight bounce from their facets.

"They are." The crow's voice was suddenly clear and deep, and he grew tall enough to block the sun. "They now belong to you."

31 comments:

Peter Dudley said...

I feel like Oliver.

Please, Sandra, may I have some more?

I love the writing in this. It flows really well and provides just the right details. I like to believe the girl's name is Sparkle.

And just who is this crow dude anyway?

Aerin said...

Sandy, excellence, excellence, as I would expect. SO glad you entered!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Eerie. Great cliffhanger.

Precie said...

Yay, Sandra came to play! My instictive interpretation is that the girl has just taken the crow's role of keeper and is in the process of transforming into a crow...as the previous keeper turns back into a human and is freed from ownership of the stones. But I could be wrong...

Lovely work!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wonderful. I love the voice, the flow, the ideas in this comment trail. You've really sparked something here.

Peter Dudley said...

Ooo, Precie, yes, I like that. Kind of like the last contest where the guy walks up the mountain and meets the guy with the shotgun, or whatever it was. That interpretation completes this for me in a way it wasn't complete before. Thanks!

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

You guys have my mind juiced flowing again.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I meant juices, and no, I am not juiced.

Jade L Blackwater said...

VERY nice - I like your tactile descriptions!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I like Precie's interpretation. Very well written story.

Kimberly B. said...

Ooh, I really like your descriptive language. The opening especially seems to evoke a simpler time. Your heroine kind of reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, taking the impossible in such a matter-of-fact way.

Great job!

Michael Morse said...

Maybe it's just the optimist in me, but I think Sparkle will be getting a new bike and a whole lot more.

September said...

Oh wow. I see the crow as something evil - luring innocent people to this place - ready to take their soul in exchange for a few precious stones....and in the end, he keeps it all...
Then...on to the next victim.
Thus the watch, the car toys, etc.
Very cleverly done. Not sure if that's what it is but that's how it is for me. :) Nice job.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

I want more as well. This dark, modern fairy tale feels like a prologue. And real. You've rooted the magic in such vivid details (the grass, the description of the terrain) that it works even better.

Aerin said...

S, you don't honestly think we believe you're not juiced?

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

It's a recurring condition, not a constant one.

Great theories on where this story will go, guys! I'm stoked!

Aniket said...

I too felt the same way as Precie. Probably because it bears some similarities to one of the most memorable entries in the last Clarity of Night Contest here: http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2010/01/entry-7.html

That was a great read. So is this one. Its just that Precie's take closes the loop and while yours leaves the ending open-ended. As a reader I like both kinds depending on the story. I am content and satisfied your piece. Thank you for this.

Aniket said...

Oops. I see Pete already mentioned that entry in his comment. My bad. :P

@Pete: THIS is why I rush to be the first to comment. :) But I came late here as its my brothers b'day today so we were partying the whole weekend. :D

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I hadn't read that entry and I see what you mean. That was a great piece.

I'm new at this flash stuff, and I guess I tend to leave the endings open so I can fiddle with them later.

The funny thing about this entry is that I really came across a talking crow when I was a kid. Didn't find any jewels, though *pouts*

Shona Snowden said...

And what did your crow say to you?!

I like the way that the ending can be interpreted in different ways; but all satisfying.

Lee said...

That's a whole lotta story in an itty bitty package. Good job!

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Thanks, Lee. It's fun to do!

Shona, I don't remember what the crow said, but it made sounds like human words and wasn't afraid of me at all. I thought it was so freaky, much less accepting than my little heroine.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Sandra

I thought at first that the magpie was going to tempt the girl into a horrible fate...now, I'm thinking guardian angel in disguise.

Dottie :)

Aerin said...

So....have you seen the animated Secret of NIMH?

Laurel said...

Love it! I'm a sucker for mystical reality anyway. Throw in a talking crow and you've won my heart.

JaneyV said...

Sandra, your writing is a treat for the senses. i swear i was there! I personally read it in the same way as Precie but I have to say I do love the idea of her being called Sparkle and of the crow being a dark suitor. (**fans face quickly**)

Anyway … I loved it!

SzélsőFa said...

wow, i didn't see the end coming, but i enjoyed the pace, the voice, just about everything about it.
and the end is just a fine hook.
was the crow's intentions good or bad? i still can't tell.
was he a shifter perhaps?

Vincent Kale said...

I like to picture the narrator pedaling her bike so fast that she rode it right into a magical world on the outskirts of her reality. "Wizard of Oz" without the tornado.

I'd like to know why the crow hid the jewels in the pile of junk. And like everyone else, I'd love to know whether this crow has good or evil intentions. Nice work!

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Crows like to hoard shiny items so the little trinkets make as much sense as the jewels.

I had the VHS copy of Nimh for years, and raised my kids on it. It's one of the reasons my budding animator daughter is a big Don Bluth fan.

The title comes from Dom DeLuise's crow character. I love the Dom.

Craig said...

Very strong descriptive piece with a nice twist.

Catherine Vibert said...

Great! I agree with Precie's interpretation.