About twenty-five years ago Penhorn Mall in Dartmouth was a hopping place with many unique stores. I loved shopping there: park once, walk a spacious mall with no stairs or escalators, be protected from the weather and pick up everything from groceries and alcohol to boots and tires. Woolco was on one end, Sears on the other and Sobeys was stuck midway. For a mall, I found it very relaxing even on Christmas Eve. Sure it was busy, but the people who shopped there were the neighbourhood-kind of people.
In one of the unique mall shops, a bird was found. Not just any ol’ bird but a crow perched on a plastic branch. The crow wasn’t real either, but the sounds it made sure were. As a Christmas joke, the bird was bought for my mother who was affectionately known as ‘the ol’ crow’.
Now before I go further, there’s been a long-time bond between my mother and crows and various other witchy-like symbols. It’s due in part to her bread poultice and to the fact that on most days, she knows before answering who’s on the other end when the phone rings. She can sometimes predict who’s ringing her even before the phone starts to sing.
Call it magic, intuition or ESP, but there’s something about Mom and the telephone. So it’s no surprise her devilish kids would take advantage of every opportunity to capitalize on this quirky trait and build on the legend of this so-called witch. And what witch’s ensemble would be complete without a black crow.
The feathered plastic crow purchased from Penhorn Mall that day didn’t just sit on the branch. How boring would that be? No, sir. When a loud noise sounded within the crow’s hearing range, it tried to take flight, flapping its wings to find air. But that’s not all. Its eyes flashed red and it screeched twice before it started shouting, “The end is near! Caw! The end is near!”
With 2012 and the so-called end of the world as we know it on our threshold, I think it’s only fitting that I should think about this crow and share its tail with you. Whether the Mayans were right or wrong, it should be an interesting year.
In celebration of 2012, I’m offering my short story Mutated Blood Bonds by Diane Lynn McGyver (aka me) free for the entire month of January. The story was inspired by the end of the Mayan calendar and all the hoopla around it. It’s set in Nova Scotia and draws on an ancient mystery of the province, the Masons and grid lines.
To receive your free copy visit Smashwords and use the coupon code (DU27R) to purchase the story.
Short Story Blurb: Autumn survived the flood waters of the Atlantic when they threatened to consume Nova Scotia and its inhabitants, but she hadn’t done it alone. When her brother insists she abandon the island and return with him to New Canada, she refuses. Though she insists she is safe, he’s convinced he knows best and will stop at nothing to have his way.
“Caw! Caw! The end is near!”
Happy New Year.