Fiction Pieces My "Crappy Writing" Story

The Living Key, Chapter 5

Animals with Strange Behavior

Ringing, ringing, ringing.

My eyes opened mutinously to the sound of my phone. I picked it up and looked to see who was calling…Amanda.

“Hello?” I answered, not having to fake the fact that I had been deeply asleep only moments before.

“Oh, hey! Sorry I woke you up!” she replied.

“Is it some weird hour of the day again, have I forgotten some prior engagement, or are you actually calling me early this time?” I responded, recalling her need to figure out the reason behind my odd behavior the previous day.

“Oh no, it’s actually early. Eight o’clock to be exact,” she laughed, dispelling my worries of her continuing to scrutinize me. “I just wanted to see if you were up and if you wanted to go out for breakfast.

“I am hungry, but I think I’ll eat here. Can I call you after I’ve woken up completely? I’m still a little groggy right now,” I answered, wanting more time to myself.

“No worries,” she said brightly, “I’ll talk to you later then.”

“Yeah, I’ll call you later,” I promised, debating whether or not I actually would keep it.

I hung up the phone and headed for the kitchen, glancing nonchalantly at my back porch. Something registered moments after, stopping me from perusing the contents of my refrigerator…I walked back to my dining room which was situated in front of the sliding door leading to the small back porch. A murder of crows was settled there, perched on the railings, on random chairs…but that wasn’t what made me do a double take to the scene before me. They were all quite still. Too still. And they were facing me, looking in.

My heart skipped a beat. Once again, I was rooted to the spot, trying to comprehend such odd animal behavior. And then one of the larger crows hopped closer to the sliding glass door barricading me from the murder, and pecked it. It was knocking on my door as if signaling me to let them in. In disbelief, I did not respond. It knocked again, this time more urgently, looking at me like it was irritated.

I took a step away from the door as if the increased distance would somehow change what was happening. Like they would magically disappear. The one crow continued to knock as the others stood as still as statues, waiting to see what I would do next. The knocking crow was becoming more irritated, and soon began to fly in front of the glass, eye level with me, pecking furiously now at the door that remained unopened to them. And I was quite sure that I was not mistaken when I saw the crow glance ever so slightly at the chain that hung around my neck. Quickly, I hid it beneath my shirt, away from its stare. The crow finally backed away from the glass door, mid-air, and abruptly veered off in the opposite direction, finally flying away from my sliding glass door. The others followed almost immediately after glaring at me contemptuously.

What was happening?

I rushed to my phone and called Amanda. She answered after one ring.

“Hey. Change your mind?” she asked.

“Yeah, meet me at my house. I don’t want to leave my apartment alone,” I said with an edge to my voice.

“What’s wrong, Grey?”

“We need to talk. I have to tell you something, and you’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I need to get it off of my chest. Come as quickly as you can.”

She hung up without saying anything. But I knew she’d be on her way. I could always count on her. I looked back warily to where the crows had just been and couldn’t fight the eerie feeling that this would not be the last encounter with strangely behaving animals. I rushed to my room and threw on the first things I could find, brushed my teeth and grabbed my purse.

Waiting nervously in my living room, I jumped at the sound of a knock on my door. I waited a few moments before asking who was there. I couldn’t be sure that it was not another strange animal trying to get into my apartment, trying to get to me; after what just happened, I now knew that it wasn’t impossible for an animal to understand the concept of knocking, if in fact they were real animals.

“It’s me, Grey!” Amanda shouted. To be sure, I looked through the peephole to confirm that it was her. Maybe these animals could talk and imitate voices even. They certainly performed other human-like behaviors with ease. Easing up a bit, I opened the door.

“Wha-” she started, but I cut her off.

“Not now. Let’s get out of here first,” I said tersely, shutting the door tightly behind me to ensure it locked properly and walking past her confused-looking stare.

The tension emanating from me was almost tangible as we drove silently in the car. I needed time to recollect my thoughts, to ascertain the best possible way to explain to Amanda what had happened to me since I came home the night before. How would I put it into words? There was no way I could word it or piece together the details without coming off as a complete lunatic. Even working out in my head what I needed to explain to her sounded completely nuts. I barely believed it myself!

“Where do you want to eat?” she asked with an edge to her voice. The ongoing silence was only adding stress to her racing mind.

“If you don’t mind, I’d like for us to keep driving. So there’s no chance of eavesdroppers, you know?” I answered shakily.

Although she looked confused and even more worried at this response, she did not object and kept driving, turning onto roads where she could drive with more leisure. I’m not sure how long of a drive it was, but I took as much time in explaining what had happened to me to make me so unnerved. The mysterious beast at my apartment building, the crows…I even told her about the vision I had of the lady in white. Surprisingly, she took this all in without once daring to question my sanity though she did have to pull over to park the car; she needed to mull over what I had just shared with her.

As she was about to speak, we turned our faces towards the hood of her car as a small thumping noise occasioned the response. It was a sleek looking cat, cunning even. It was of no large size though it was not small either by any means. It was entirely black. Giving my immediate history with animals in the past twenty-four hours, I watched the cat with suspicion, waiting for it to act in a very un-animal fashion. My observations were in vain as the cat merely romped about the hood and quickly jumped off of the car in pursuit of some unseen thing.

“Well, certainly nothing odd about that animal,” Amanda replied, a little smug.

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me.”

“Look, it’s not that…I’m just not sure what to think,” she consoled.

Thankfully, Amanda was open to such things as these. She wasn’t entirely devoid of regard for the possibility, and even existence, of things outside our understanding. She just had no experience; had she seen even one of the visions of the lady in white from my childhood, she wouldn’t be leaning anywhere near skepticism. There was always hope for her coming around to the idea eventually. And hopefully that time would come soon. I needed someone to confide in.

Another thump. This time it was a rather large, shabby looking grey cat whose yellow eyes pierced into mine in a most uncomfortable way. Once again, I had the notion from the body language of the animal that it was calculating. To confirm my suspicions, the cat crept slowly nearer to me towards the windshield that I was thankful served as a barricade between me and the mangy beast as it looked, very deliberately, at the chain about my neck. I pressed my hand over it to shield it from further view and turned to look at Amanda. She looked at me incredulously; she had seen the cat make its observation, the same observation I described to her just moments before. Then the black cat returned. It looked at the grey one, and to the astonishment of both Amanda and me, the grey cat gave a quick nod to the black one, as if confirming something they had discussed prior to standing on the hood of Amanda’s car. In synch, they both turned their heads toward me, moving even closer to the glass.

Horrified, Amanda locked her car doors, but could not gather the courage just yet to start the car. The cats, noting this reaction, peered at Amanda and hissed. They began to paw at the glass, scratch it, as if their efforts would soon be rewarded. Amanda finally found the strength to start the car and pull away despite the fact that the cats were still on the hood. They jumped down smoothly to the side of the road. Upon glancing at the rearview mirror, I could see that they were running behind our car trying to keep up with us. They soon stopped and gazed at us, rather ominously, as we continued our retreat, widening the space between us and them.

“What the hell was that!” she screamed.

“Now do you believe me?” I retorted.

“Whatever it is that happened to you, I have to say that that pretty much made a believer out of me.”

“Well…I’m glad.” It was all I could muster.

“Whatever you do, Grey, for goodness sake, hide that necklace. If you can’t take it off, at least make sure it’s hidden under your shirt at all times. That’s what seems to be drawing attention though I have no clue why.”

I obeyed and hid the necklace under my shirt. What was the significance behind it? My father gave it to me a long time ago, but made no real significance of it in his explanation to me though I might have misunderstood if he had, given my age at the time it was received. It had a very peculiar reaction when hit by the light at certain angles, yes, but to me that seemed to serve more as an amusement to the wearer than anything else. Though I could also be wrong on that part as well. I resolved to have a closer look at the necklace when I was sure I was in a safe place. I needed to find some answers, or, at the very least, figure out some clue that could lead me to some answers.

“Whatever it is you’re thinking, Grey, I’m in,” she said, reading my thoughts.

“I don’t understand how you could help me.”

“It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I want to help, and you can’t stop me,” she answered decidedly. I knew I had to let her in.

It was a comfort to me to know that I had at least one person on my side, someone I could confide in outside of my own thoughts. For some reason, Amanda adjusted so fluidly to the supernatural things now surrounding me, drawn like a magnet to whatever secrets were hidden in the necklace I’d worn since I was a child. At least I wasn’t alone now.

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