Around the grange’s grounds
she wanders, nightgown clad,
barefoot, dewy soled and
no longer caring to conceal
her true self,
safe under night’s cloak.
She rubs the laurel leaves
against her cheek,
absorbing the dusky poison,
to feed and ignite her soul.
The willows’ near the waters warble
lullabies of drowned maidens,
whose hair the otters steal
to line the nests of the death birds –
the ravens, crows and jays
who flock to the banks
in their black-feathered hordes.
She throws back her neck
and whistles, calling to her clan.
A fluttering, a rustling,
a chirruping, a nestling;
the branches laden with shadows,
creak under their burden.
She looks up, the Raven Girl,
as they called her in the village,
before the doctors came
and trapped her, with their
straps and iron contraptions.
Glossy haired, with ebony eyes,
each empty of an iris,
though a tiny flame burns deep
within each one – mesmerising,
so the men in frock coats
never meet her eye.
Instead they strapped her to a bed,
reading their Bibles, chanting over
her swaddled form;
in slurred, blurred voices,
melting with their hate.
She is a chrysalis;
hiding, waiting for her time.
“Come Corvids, come, gather round me,
weave me a cloak, to carry me away.”
The ravens drop their purple-hued feathers,
the rooks rally, the jays entwine
stolen silver threads to sew the seams
and the crows, they bring
the wind from beneath their wings
to float the garment.
Willow woven ties
hold it to her tortured body.
Behind her the mansion bursts
with lights and frenzied voices.
“Bring the traps.”
“Seek her out!”
Raven Girl laughs to the dark skies,
lifts up her feathered arms,
sucks in a lungful of stars and
rises, shrouded by the multitude of birds.
She is one with them.
Beneath her angry fires flame,
burning her bare soles,
but the fingers of fire do not singe her wings.
Instead, hectic voices scald the air.
First one crow swoops to peck and claw,
followed by a second,
a third rook joins the melly and next
the magpies, (glimpsing treasure
in the pocket watches and gold rings),
bombard the men with eager clutching claws.
Raven Girl flies upwards,
breathing in the sky, sipping the clouds’ froth.
As one, she and her flock, turn, point south and
take flight for warmer kinder shores.
There is an island she has heard tell of
where her kind are welcome.
The Isle of the Blessed.
A home, a haven,
for those who no longer
have to hide.
Alyson Faye lives in West Yorkshire, UK with her husband, teen son and 4 rescue animals. Her latest tale of the supernatural, Night of the Rider, published by Demain as an ebook in May 2019, hit the Amazon horror shorts bestseller charts, appearing in the top 10. Her short stories have appeared in print in the anthologies, Women in Horror Annual 2, Stories from Stone, DeadCades, Trembling with Fear Vol 1, Ellipsis 2, Coffin Bell ONE and Crackers. Her debut flash fiction collection, Badlands, is out on Amazon, as is Trio of Terror. Her flash fiction has appeared in several charity anthologies and can be heard on several podcasts. Her fiction has won, or been short listed in several competitions. Her blog can be found at www.alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com. Her amazon author page is at https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01NBYSLRT and she’s on twitter as @AlysonFaye2.