Wuxiaworld > FICOOL SHORT STORY COLLECTION > 4 THE CROW


TUMUVU TOGO

Jerry was what everyone called Jermaine Zaza Olenga. He was a Togolese with a Nigerian mother and he spent most of his life in Nigeria. He had a prospering business in Lagos and visited Togo not too frequently. Today though, he was in Togo visiting his hometown; Tumuvu. Now Tumuvu had one big problem, CROWS. The African Crows here were little bastards. They stole everything and anything, clothes, food, jewelry...if they could carry it, they would carry it.

Jerry was a 'big man': successful with several cars and a whole staff body in his office. He arrived home with not one, but three cars; all SUVs. The people were glad to see him again. He was a cheerful giver but had something of a temper.

Once he got out of his car, he set down his handkerchief on the bonnet and reached into his pockets to take out cash. People had come singing his praises and he needed to show appreciation; that was why they did it anyway. He took out the money and threw it in the air. The people were glad and bent over to pack the notes.

Jerry turned back to his car, just as a crow snatched his handkerchief off the bonnet and flew away. He took off one of his slippers and flung it with such ferocity. The crow dodged it with ease and made off with the handkerchief.

"Ah, Zaza!" cried an elderly man who had come in with the crowd of praise singers. The man had not joined in diving for money so he saw what happened. He addressed Jerry by his native name.

"Baba, that stupid bird just stole my handkerchief. Do you know how much that is?!"

"Zaza, I know the crows are annoying, but you cannot kill one; no Tumuvu indigene can do so. The crow is a wicked spirit."

"Nonsense!" Jerry replied and went into his house.

The old man remained outside and watched two crows which sat on the roof of Jerry's four-story manor. The man was wealthy, but wealth could not get him out of trouble if he angered those birds.

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The next morning, Jerry had just finished bathing. He stepped into his large bedroom with a towel around his waist. He had left his window open last night not being used to the town and that had been an opening for the crows. There were three on the windowsill and one on the dresser where he kept his jewelry. The crow already had his golden hand chain in its mouth.

"Put it down," he warned, sidestepping slowly towards the open window while watching the bird on the table.

Once the crow realized what he was trying to do, it lifted off and made for the window, but the man shut it fast and dove out of the way as the bird came straight at him. The bird struck the glass and fell down dazed.

Jerry picked up one of his thick-soled shoes and came for the downed bird. The creature had left his chain on the dresser and was just looking for a way out now.


"I said I would catch one of you, abi?" Jerry's eyes gleamed as he looked down at the bird. He was angry and not thinking straight. The old man's words came to him.

"You cannot kill one; no Tumuvu indigene can do so. The crow is a wicked spirit."

"Nonsense. I will kill it and nothing will happen."

He raised the shoe high above his head and brought it down with great strength. The crow's head was smashed and its blood splattered across the floor and across Jerry's legs.

The man raised his shoe and looked down at the mess.

"Stupid bird."

LAGOS NIGERIA

Jerry was back in Lagos now. His three-day visit home had been nice and he was glad to be back in Nigeria. He just got back and his wife and daughter ran out to greet him. Husband and wife hugged each other and shared a quick kiss before the man turned to his little girl. She was fifteen and not so little anymore.

"My little Mary, how are you?" the man asked his child.

"I'm fine, daddy, but I would feel better if you had taken me to Togo with you." The girl frowned. She'd been smiling before, but she wanted to obtain her father and it worked.

"Don't worry, sweetie. I'll make it up to you."

"How?"

"However you want," he replied.

"My laptop is old and I want that tablet you promised me."

"Consider it done."

The girl's smile returned now.

"See this faker," her mom teased, but she ignored her and hugged her dad.

"You're no longer angry about Togo, eh?" asked her mom.

"No," Mary admitted and both her parents burst into laughter.

"Banky, bring down the things I bought!" the man ordered his gateman as he followed his family into the house.

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The night passed with no event and by the next day, Jerry was back at work. His staff were somewhat glad to see him. He was a good boss, but anybody with a temper was always a problem in some way.

It was here in the office today that Jerry first encountered it; the crow. One second he was staring at his computer then he looked away to think and when he looked at the screen once more, he saw the bird standing next to the computer.

"The hell!!" The man jumped out of his chair and stared at the bird. It just stood there and stared back.

"Chisom?!" he screamed.

The door opened and a pretty lady in a black pants-suit hurried in. "Sir, why are you screaming?!" she asked.

"The bird!" he pointed at the table, but the feathered creature was gone now. "What?! It was right there!"

Chisom raised an eyebrow. "Sir, there is nothing there except your computer."

"No it can't be happening," Jerry reassured himself.

"Sir?" called the secretary.

"Get out!!" he barked and she hurried away, pulling the door shut behind her.

"Don't close the door!" he yelled, running towards the closing door. He did not want to be alone right now.

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At home that day, Jerry explained everything to his wife.

"Why would you kill something you were told your people don't kill?" Anita asked him. She was very worried.

"I thought it was nonsense and I still believe my mind played a trick on me in the office; the stress is getting to me."

"Jerry, you do not go against certain traditions."

"The thing wanted to rob me!"
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"And you could not have replaced the chain had it been stolen?!" Anita snapped back.

"I don't believe in that rubbish," the man bragged. "I can...." he stopped short when he saw a crow fly into the living room and perch on the TV. He jumped on the chair and crouched in fear.

"What is it?!" Anita asked, looking in the same direction as him, but seeming to notice nothing.

"You're not seeing it?!" Jerry was hysterical as he looked from his wife to the TV and back.

"I'm not seeing anything, Jerry. You're scaring me!"

"There is a crow on the TV right now, Anita. There's a crow on the bloody television!!" He took off one of his slippers and threw it at the bird, but he missed. The creature didn't even flinch.

Jerry bolted for the door, running out of the room. Anita saw nothing, but she ran after her husband. There was no need waiting to see it first.

And so began the problems for Jerry Olenga. He began seeing the crow everywhere he went. The bird haunted him three months without doing any harm but on the first day of the fourth cycle, that changed.

Jerry was asleep next to his wife in bed. He now slept with the covers over his face so as to avoid seeing anything when he suddenly opened his eyes, but in the middle of the night; about 03:00 am, something yanked the covers off him.

Jerry turned on his side but continued sleeping. Anita didn't even move. Neither of them saw the swarm of crows which had now covered every surface in the room, nor did they see the humanlike figure that rose up from the floor. It was a hooded form with a crow on its left shoulder. The hood was black and around the shoulders was a shawl of white, just like the 'V' on the chest of the African Crow.

The figure moved to the base of the bed and stared at the duo laying in it. Its face was lost inside the darkness within the hood, but its head turned from Jerry to Anita and back again. The hand that reached out from under the cloak was pale white and around it swirled black mist. The fingernails were bone-white and long.

"Zaza?" It called Jerry by his native name. Its voice hoarse and low.

Jerry rolled onto his back but kept sleeping.

"Zaza?" the thing called again, cutting his skin with one of its fingers this time. The black mist swirled around the cut and the blood flowed upwards, to join it.

"Zaza?" it called once more and this time, Jerry's eyes opened. He looked down at the thing at the foot of the bed and let out a blood-curdling scream.

Anita snapped awake and the crows were all gone; the figure with them.

"Anita, look at my leg!" Jerry complained and his wife looked at it. The cut the hooded figure had made in his leg oozed black blood.

"What happened?!" the woman asked, panicked.

"There was something in the room. It cut me!"

A loud female scream suddenly tore through the night. Both Jerry and Anita knew what voice.

"Mary!" they cried in unison and the mother rushed out of bed.

Jerry made to get out of bed, but when he set his right foot down on the floor, a sharp pain went up from the cut in that leg. He cried out and fell back in bed.

When Anita got to her daughter's room, she pushed the door open and crows rushed past her as they exited the room. She covered her face and screamed in fear, but the birds did her no harm.

Once the birds had passed, Anita opened her eyes to check on her daughter. Something was wrong.

"Mommy?" called Mary as she stood up on her bed.

"Oh my God," Anita put her hands over her mouth as she stared at her daughter.

"Mommy?" Mary called, tears coming to her eyes. "What happened to me?"

Jerry came hopping along the corridor. He kept his right leg off the floor and when he got to Mary's room, he looked in and was stunned at the sight.

"Look at what they did to our daughter, Jerry!" Anita cried, running towards the girl now.

Jerry watched in awe as his wife got to Mary and put her arms around the girl who now had two massive black wings sticking out of her back.

"Jesus Christ," the man murmured. "How is this even possible?"

"Zaza?" he heard a hoarse voice call behind him, but when he turned around, there was no one.

"We need to go to Togo, Jerry," Anita stated. "We need to go to your village now!"

"How do we take her outside like that?" he asked.

"I don't care!!!" his wife barked.

Jerry saw a crow materialize above his daughter's head and perch on it. The girl didn't even seem to notice it was there. Something definitely had to be done.

TUMUVU TOGO

By the evening of the very next day, Jerry was back in Tumuvu with his family. With them was the old man who had warned him about the crows during his last visit. They were on the compound of the family's house here in Togo, staring at the front doors of the manor. The wings on Mary's back had drawn so much attention that nearly half the town was outside the gates. Around the young girl stood several crows.

Jerry was in a wheelchair. His right leg had gotten worse. It was glossy black now. It was not disgusting, just lacking its human color. He could not move it without great pain, thus the need to be rolled around in a wheelchair.

"I warned you, Zaza," the old man spoke.

"Please, Baba, just stop telling me I made a mistake and start telling me how to fix it." The man was getting angry already, but he kept his temper in check. It was responsible for the mess he was currently in.

The doors of the manor opened and a tall, lanky man in a long white robe walked out. He had several tattoos on his body, even up to his face. His eyes were bloodshot and from the middle of his hair, a thin stream of smoke rose up. In his right hand was a metal cage with a black cock inside it. His right hand was covered in black paint with which he'd drawn circles around his eyes. This was one hell of a witchdoctor

As the man emerged from the house, crows suddenly came up from behind the house and settled on the cars, walls and windowsills around the compound. Those around Mary remained as they were.

"Zaza, grandson of Olenga, you have angered the crow spirit and now it seeks to make your child its own; a child for a child," said the witch doctor.

"God forbid!" Anita snapped, trying to shoo away the birds around she and her child, but they just rose up and settled back down when she stopped.

"You shall have to appease the spirit with one of two chosen parts," the witch doctor explained.

"What are the two parts?" Jerry asked.

"Your child who is your seed and your leg. These have both been marked by the crow and you have three days from the day of marking to make your choice, or the spirit will take both."

Jerry sucked in his breath. "My leg, or my daughter. I know my choice, but is there really no other option?"

"If there was a third option, do you not believe I would have mentioned it?" the witchdoctor asked back in reply.

"I warned you the crow spirit was a wicked spirit," the old man added.

Jerry turned to his wife and child.

"Daddy," said the girl.

"It's okay, baby. You'll be alright. We'll be fine. I can do fine with one."

END