Tales From the Whitethorn: Crazy Man Michael.
I froze in the moment when I heard it again, that piercing “caw caw” is a thistle in my head. There is heat in my face as I drop the hoe and spin around. There you are perched high in the skeleton tree overlooking my tranquil garden. Your eyes are black coals. But I will rant and rave at you no longer. It does no good to curse you and beat my fists at the four winds; they will only come and drag me inside to lock me up in that silent padded room. There, I no longer see her face in every flower grown. Instead, I stand transfixed before you, evil sorcerer. Memories of your treachery curl tongues of wispy smoldering smoke around my thoughts. I am calm; you cannot touch me anymore because you have taken everything. But dark raven you were not always so aloof and lost to all that is light and airy.
“Why don’t you leave me alone?”
I remember you circling high upon the wind up there on the mountain where I lived alone. If rain fell, I was thankful because the grass would grow to feed my sheep. Together, our love covered quivering grass, bare rocks, and cloudy peaks where no tree grew. You told me she was coming. I still hear your voice, a herald of a promise. Love is like a promise; it tries all your strength to keep, and time, as it always does, outdid us.
“Did I not speak the truth, Crazy-Man Michael? Did she not come to warm the chill that was slowly crawling into your very heart?”
“Oh, so you chose to speak to me again, Raven.”
“Yes, she came like a summer swallow. One misty laden morning she stood like a beacon in a storm, mysterious and ethereal with her brown hair flagging in the wind.”
Memories that time does not swallow remain. I remember; I cannot forget. Coming out of the mist as she did appear, I could not utter a word, only stood and stared. But despite the jolt of joy in my heart, I felt a foreboding, something indistinct and darkened by distance, like something one sees out of the corner of the eye and is gone. As the days merged and she regained her strength, I felt a love different from the love I felt for the mountain, the pure air, and the wild ferns. Different from the love I had for you, dark raven.
“Now you hate me for what your own hand has done”
My own hand; how could it be so, treacherous bird? When I asked you to tell my future, you told me my true love would die by own hand. I shouted and screamed at you until my anger bloomed. With my knife, I struck you down. Then the sky it did spin, as the ground seemed to startle and tremble. With horror, I saw on the grass not a dead raven but the lifeless body of my love with a wound so red. Now, I must be haunted forever more.
I see them coming to get me. They think I have lost my mind and am a fool who shakes and shouts at black birds, but I know who you are and what you have done to me.