13 Crows, One “Windoor”
I scan my surroundings again, my brain trying to reconcile the possibility of my…my…situation.
Holy lamb chops!
This feels way too…too…real.
And I’m having a hell of a time trying to convince myself it isn’t.
A lucid dream…huh?
I don’t remember ever having one of these before.
“I guess there’s a first time for everything,” I mutter.
A small grin tugs at the corners of my lips, unable to suppress the amusement at the fact that I even talk to myself in my dreams.
I pluck a sunflower from below, bringing it up to my nose. I sniff its petals tentatively. I’m not a fan of smelling flowers. Never have been, so I’m not even sure why I do it.
Its aroma isn’t particularly pleasant, but it’s not bad either.
For some reason it smells…familiar.
I frown, eyeing the golden-yellow plant with suspicion. As a child, I was allergic to most flowers so my mom kept me away from all of them. Sunflowers included. Why would this feel nostalgic if I don’t have any experiences with sunflowers in the first place—
Unexpectedly, something large and black jets by me, leaving a massive gust of wind in its wake. It’s a complete blur but the sight of it startles the crap out of me and immediately drags me out of my thoughts. Before I can recover, I feel another one speed by me just as abruptly.
And then another.
My heart races with renewed fear as blurs of black continue to rush by me, frazzling my hair and nerves. My head turns back and forth impulsively, trying to see what it is…and I immediately wish I didn’t.
All of a sudden, a swarm of crows rush in the same direction, flying and swishing by me in haste like they’re running late for an appointment with Donald Trump’s hairpiece.
A wave of nausea washes over me as I take in their morbid sight. I like birds in general, but crows make my skin crawl. I don’t know what it is about them. It’s not their color that irks me because I adore ravens and blackbirds. I don’t even mind the way they sound so much.
But crows…crows just seem to carry this aura of gloom and despair wherever they go, and I’ve always found that unsettling.
Maybe it’s because they eat dead people…
As soon as the thought forms, I feel this strange, impending sense of danger, and all at once, panic, anxiety, and fear quickly bubble to the surface…and I lose it.
Instantly, I take off in the opposite direction of the crows, sprinting as fast as I can, trying—and failing—to ignore the chorus of crowing behind me as I run. I have no idea where I’m going but I don’t care. All I know is that I need to get as far away from these creepy things as possib—
I stop dead in my tracks, my legs halting in the grass without my permission. Before I even realize what’s happening, my feet are moving of their own accord, turning my body around, and just as quickly as I ran from them, I start to run after the crows.
Holy mother of God…
It’s as if my feet have a mind of their very own. My brain is screaming at them to run in the opposite direction, but they won’t listen.
They won’t stop.
I can’t even begin to describe how insanely bizarre this feels. I have absolutely no control, like I’m not even in my own body anymore.
Even though I’m terrified out of my mind, I continue moving in their direction against my will. I can’t understand it. I don’t know why or how I’m running towards something I’m obviously afraid of; something that has always induced a heightened sense of fear in me and that I feel could potentially harm me.
I can see the flock of crows in the distance, assembled on the rooftop of a small white building that I’m positive wasn’t there before.
Thirteen of them.
And they all glare in my direction like an unimpressed audience at a failed stand-up comedy show.
Even from several feet away, I can feel their collective gaze on me, their eyes prying…as if in search of something.
Good God…I feel like I just stumbled into an episode of American Horror Story.
My pace slows as I near the cottage-like building, each hesitant step bringing me closer and closer to my unchosen destination. I get increasingly nervous, not just about the glaring crows but the cottage as well.
Something about it seems…off.
Grass and sunflowers move under the pressure of my feet and around my gown, their wispy blades and petals bending and swaying at the mercy of the wind and the turbulence my movements bring.
It’s such a stark contrast, weird and ironic at the same time; the angry-looking crows have this ominous weight about them but the vegetation beneath my feet feel as soft as clouds…so light and serene that I actually feel like I’m floating.
Like I’m on air…
As I get closer, I notice some sort of metal cross on the roof of the building.
I’m not sure why, but an unusual rush of calmness unexpectedly washes over me, giving me a sense of assurance and peace of mind that I didn’t have before, superseding my fear.
I’m not religious by any means; don’t believe in God or any supreme deity or anything like that.
So why does the sight of a random cross make you calm all of a sudden? the voice in my head whispers.
I frown, more than a bit concerned by my strange behavior.
First, I’m terrified out of my mind and running toward a bunch of large, scary crows and now…this: this strange, eerie calm that seems to have come from nowhere.
Aunt Flow must be visiting a little earlier than planned this month because I can’t understand the abrupt changes in emotions I’m experiencing.
Nope, my last period was over a week and a half ago. Isn’t supposed to be here for another—
Wait, why the hell am I debating with myself over the arrival of my period in a freaking dream?
Goodness, Eli, you’re really turning into a basket case, I silently scold myself. Get it together, for fuck’s sake!
I roll my eyes, shaking my head in amusement.
At least I don’t feel any of the apprehension I did just moments ago.
I quickly scan the building in front of me and find it to be…simple.
I’m all for modesty but this just looks like it wasn’t even actually built for anything.
There doesn’t seem to be any real structure; no definitive front or back, no obvious door, and even the roof that’s now housing the thirteen angry crows doesn’t look like much thought was put into it—like it has no purpose.
The only thing that looks remotely like an adornment is the metal cross hoisted at the center of it, and even that is quite minimal.
It doesn’t seem like anyone’s inside, either.
Without a second thought, I start to pace around the small establishment, searching for a way in.
I have no idea why I even want to go inside. It sure doesn’t look like much from here and I doubt there’s anything worthwhile in it. Still, I can’t suppress my sudden curiosity about the small, humble structure.
Several moments pass and I circle the cottage a few times, my eyes peeled for any doors, hollow walls, or even cracks. Just when I’m about to give up, I finally stumble upon the only opening in sight; a strange, somewhat geometric but irregular cavity toward the back of the small building.
I can only describe it as a “windoor”—a merge of what would probably look more like a poorly designed window and a narrow, almost anorexic door if it were separated.
I’m not sure how I missed it previously.
It’s tiny but it doesn’t seem that obscure.
I could have sworn it wasn’t here before…
After several moments of hesitation, I finally decide to go inside—despite the incessant glares of the feathered creatures above me.