Dreaming Crow

By on Sep 12, 2011 in Fiction

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Dreaming Crow graphic

I swoop down to the hood of the car, peering in at Emma. She sits curled in the passenger seat, legs tucked under. Her face is so grubby, I can see old tear tracks on her cheeks. It looks like she’s been wearing the same shirt for days, stains dribbled down the wrinkled fabric. She’s lost in thought, staring out the side window of the car, and she’s sucking her thumb, something I haven’t seen her do in more than two years. That bastard!

Pecking out my ex’s eyes begins to look mild. I want to rip him apart. I want to demolish him… but at least Emma’s alive and all in one piece. She doesn’t look happy, but she’s not hurt… at least not physically. Relief overwhelms my rage, and I feel like I’m weeping… only crows can’t cry.

“Come… now.” Brother Crow lands next to me. “Hurry.” There is an urgency to the words which startles me. I don’t want to leave Emma, but I must. I have to return so I can tell the police where she is. I have to let somebody know what I’ve seen.

Just before we take off, Emma notices us. Her sad, unfocused eyes shift, and she sees the two birds on the hood of the car. Her expression changes, and she leans forward with interest. She loves animals, all kinds.

I caper around, putting on a little show for her, waving my wings and tapping the windshield with my beak. Emma looks astonished. Then a smile curves across her lips. She reaches out and touches the glass. I tap it again, right where her finger is, and she laughs. It is so good to hear! With that sound lifting me, I take to the air, racing north.


“Just check it out!” I insist, ignoring the officer’s skeptical expression. He practically rolls his eyes at me.

“Ms. Blanchard, we can’t do something like this on a hunch. We’ll have to contact the local Medford police, and they’ll need a reason. They have to justify a search warrant, and the other people at the motel will…”

“I don’t care about any of that.” I’m struggling to keep my tone reasonable. “If you won’t do something, then I’ll get in my car and go down there myself. But if they’re already gone before I get there…” I teeter on the edge of blasting him with some sort of curse… the wrath of a madwoman. Then I pull myself back in.

“Please!” I beg. “Just check it out. If I’m wrong you can call me an idiot, but if I’m right, this could all be over. Please. I know they’re there.”

The officer exhales slowly, staring at the floor, then looking up at me again. I know my eyes are red-rimmed and fierce. My hands are clutched in front of my chest as though I’m praying for mercy. He shrugs and shakes his head, as if to say, OK, crazy lady. I give up.

“I guess we’ll try it,” he offers. “I’ve heard of stranger things.”

“Thank you!” I find myself hugging him. He gives a short, surprised grunt and steps back.

“We can’t promise anything,” he reminds me, looking worried. “Don’t get your hopes up. This is a wild goose chase as far as I’m concerned.”

I nod dutifully, but I know better. This is not a wild goose chase. It can’t be. Emma is at the Phoenix Inn and Suites, and if they just hurry, they’ll find her. The officer tips his hat as he leaves, a touchingly old-fashioned gesture. I stand at the large window in the living room and watch the police car pull out of the driveway.

“I’m not crazy,” I say softly, laying my forehead against the cool glass. “She will be there.” A crow flaps down from the cedar tree across the road and lands in the yard. He tilts his head and seems to grin.


Casey is sitting with me in the kitchen. We’re eating cinnamon raisin toast with warm milk, an old childhood favorite and comfort food. Cards are scattered on the table. We’ve tried playing a game of “eights and aces,” but our hearts aren’t in it. Waiting is excruciating.

“Dreams can seem pretty real,” Casey venture. She’s holding her mug in both hands, as if to draw warmth from it. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell…”

“Shut up,” I snap. I’m tired and in no mood for this. I know she doesn’t believe my story.

The phone rings, and we both jump. I cover the distance in less than a second, grabbing up the receiver. “Hello.”

“Ms. Blanchard?”

“Yes, Officer Dalton, I know it’s you. Did you find her?” My chest is tight, and I have to push the words out.

“We’ve got your daughter safe and sound, Ms. Blanchard. It was just like you said.” I can hear the smile in his voice. Joy surges through me with the force of a flash flood. I’m shaking, crying, and thanking him all at the same time. Casey is on her feet, bouncing up and down like a child at a birthday party.

Now Emma is on the phone. I can hear the tremor in her voice. She’s scared and needs reassurance. I calm my own voice to sound as steady as I can, under the circumstances.

“Hi, Sweetie,” I say. “Are you ready to come home?”

“I am SO ready!” she answers, then rushes on. “But Mom, they arrested Dad. I saw them put handcuffs on him. What’s going to happen?”

“Everything’s going to be fine, honey. The police will bring you right home, and you’ll get to sleep in your own bed tonight. We can’t wait to see you. Aunt Casey’s here, and Molly’s been missing you. She keeps wandering around the house meowing, looking for you.”

“I missed her, too… and you… and everything. I want to be home already.”

“You will be, soon.” I close my eyes, offering a silent prayer of gratitude to Brother Crow, whoever he is, wherever he came from, even if it’s only from somewhere deep inside of me. Whatever else may be true, clearly, I am not crazy, and my daughter is coming home. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

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Diana A. Green lives in Washington State with her good-natured husband, scholarly son, goofball German Shepherd, and couch potato cat. Until recently Diana worked as a teacher, but she is currently taking time to focus on her lifelong love of writing. This summer she completed a science fiction novel and is now experimenting with short stories. "Dreaming Crow" is her first published fiction.