Disclaimer: The Crow, the movie starring Brandon Lee, is the property of Edward R Pressman Film. The work here is derivative, with characters wholly my own, and has been presented free, for your entertainment. While I am a published author, I occasionally indulge in the creation of fanfiction for pure whimsy, and as a writing exercise between bigger projects.
It's the sense of compression that brings me to awareness; then foul-smelling moisture―liquid mud that oozes when I thrash. At first my eyes won't work and the shriek that tears, ragged and raw from my throat sounds more like that of a bird. Cold pinpricks settle on exposed skin, raising goose flesh on my arms.
But there is a bird. It screeches like a woman being raped―a metallic interruption that stills the chink-chink-chink of frogs.
Clouds scud, ragged over a swollen moon still three nights from full. The stars are faint pinpricks quickly obscured then revealed again.
For a heartbeat I see myself as the bird would: a bedraggled mess of a woman clutching her soaked rags to her chest, her mouth gaping in a soundless wail as she heaves for breath.
Then I snap back into myself; I have no idea how I came to be dragging myself from a shallow scrape surrounded by a lashing mass of reeds hissing in the wind.
I grope at my memories but I come away only with blankness.
The bird caws again and a flutter of wings disturbs the already turbulent air. It lands close to me and I'm compelled to crawl toward it through the muck, to the only living thing with which I have a connection.
Clouds part and my eyes adjust to the moon's glow so I can see the darned bird. It cocks its head and a beady eye captures a scrap of starlight while it regards me. It parts its beak and caws again, the sound shrapnel through my soul.
It taps once, twice, on a bone-white globe. Only it's not some rock or discarded toy as my initial thoughts suggest. It's a small skull―that of a small human child. And I remember everything.