My legs can’t move and it’s like my voice is gone. My grip on the plastic bag tightens, sliding against my sweaty palm.
Scream. I need to scream for help.
I need to pretend like this isn’t normal.
The giant crow jerks its head in a crazy tilt, beady should-be-dead eyes fixed on mine. More feathers fall, some into the mixing bowl and some onto the floor. The combined smell of batter and burnt crow seemed to jab up my nose, creating an unpleasant twist of nausea in my stomach and a threatening ache at the back of my head.
“Well, Mona?” it says. Dark velvet coats its beak and drips from one nostril. Uncovered flesh shines in contrast to the dark countertops, pink and scarred and red and bloody, maybe some of it’s Lily’s–
My jaw unglues at the thought of my little sister. With only the urgent feeling that she cannot be brought back into this, I quickly inhale, my eyes squeezed shut, ready to yell for mom or our neighbors or someone to call 911, there’s some freak animal show in my kitchen–
“Oh, foolish Mona,” the crow says, and my eyes open right back up in shock. The scream is stuck in my chest and I choke, because the crow is now talking with her voice: the woman from my dream. Low, husky.
“Don’t you know?” the crow continues with another jerk of its head. It seems to swell up more, its chest puffing up, its wings too twitchy. “Lily’s already decided to come back.”
Then with a sickening pop, the crow explodes, bones, guts and all, and something hits me in the eye.