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Crows, Woes And You

By Vishnupriya

Seven for the devil, his own self.

The cold breeze sweeping off leaves to nowhere left her unfazed. There was no silly case of goosebumps or chills down her spine as she focused on swinging her feet from the branches of the yew tree. A myriad of cawing crows spiraled around her, clawing and testing their beaks into the caverns of her skin. As baffling as it was, there was no noose, no thoughts. Just the deluded perception of being, existing and, a long-forgotten cloudy memory of a feeling.

Beside her was the sharpest of scissors, the blades gleaming playfully, desperate to be blunt. The scissors were the one instrument in the orchestra of weapons that stood out to her. The sound of its snap met with the unmatched agony of cutting stems never failing to make her cry blood, loosening an unformed knot within her.

The white roses that bloomed within her splintered at the touch of metal as she carefully guided her hands. It was a tedious task, avoiding the organs, the veins, and finding the right stems. Her hands worked magic clearing the roses, all except the one that bloomed out of her aorta.

She carefully set down the bunch of freshly cut stems which were now covered in blood, their buds looking down, stillborn. The bits of flesh adorning their thorns was not even remotely grotesque to her. She gritted through her teeth in pain, her lips curved up slightly to grant a weak smile to an audience of dead field, wilted flowers, and blood-ridden skin.

The rays of sunshine ripping through the blanket of blue told her it was time to go on with the mundane. Her deed was done or so she thought, as she took one of the budded stems, carelessly chewing on the rosebud and licking the blood off her lips.

Six for hell.

She hopped off the branch, or merely suspended herself, hoping her feet would meet the ground at one point of time or another. Dragging herself across the barren land was not one of her favourite things to do, although she cannot remember having any favourites.

The long dragging landed her in front of the mirror. Every day was the same, she would stare into it for hours, testing various faces because she knew it was someone else on the other side. It wasn’t one of the usual days though. The exhaustion was catching up with her and the crushing weight of being alive was burdensome. So she rested her palm against the cold mirror, her reflection instantly followed her, warming her hands. That’s how she knew it was someone else because she was never warm, has never been warm by herself. She rested her head against the scrawny chipped-off mirror, too blurred to see any details, too blurred for her own good.

“That’s right. We’re okay,” She murmured to the reflection, earning a sigh from it.

The abhorrent scent of dead rotting roots was already starting to build in the cages of her bones and it reeked of death in the meshes of her brain. She knew this too because every day she mourns for the rotten and dead even though she has no clue what is dead anymore.

She rubbed off the dead skin from her lips, the cells clumping and sticking to her nails. She painted herself in the most alive tone of skin and the brightest plum blossoms. The pretty clothes wrapped around her rotting skin did not help the scent forcing her to change into brighter clothes, as if it’d help with the stench and hide the skin she picked off.

Five for heaven.

The darkness was supposed to make her appreciate light more but it had only shunned her appreciation for light. How can she not when the darkness hid all the demons so well? It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When had the realities shifted without her say in it? She couldn’t even argue with it. There was simply no logic. She was never supposed to see him under those warm lights. It was the cursed warmth of the light, she knew.

It was the softness in his touches that made her wonder if he saw her, even if it was for a fragment of a second. Maybe he noticed the way paint chipped off her edges even when she tried her best to paint around the corners too. Although the buzz of the city was loud enough to be a mistaken stadium of cheer, he heard her when her voice was just the fold of a leaf.

She saw him. She really did. She saw the human he was with all his flaws and truly knew people are not perfect, neither was he and that was okay. He has made mistakes in his life and that’s okay too because she truly saw him and, loved him right then and there with every last fiber of her being. It was as if every version of her that ever existed loved him wholly and all of her from every timeline in this suspended world came to unity, a single point of existence to just feel that moment and it was paradise.

As she rested her head against the window sill, her reflection on the pane whispered, “Would he still see you the same if you were to reach behind and unzip your layers? would the off-putting rotten scabs be dabbed or seethed at?”

It all came down to the odds of three and five, indivisible.

Four for birth.

The airy floaty feeling of her chest unwinding was unusual. She woke up violently coughing and sputtering only to throw up a petal. It was yellow, her favourite colour. It was so soft and she knew without doubt.

Sunflower. The blossoms in her were now sunflowers.

The deceptive thorns and leaves now replaced with large ones so full of warmth, making her crave the sickening feel of the sun on her skin.

Alive, Dead, Alive. If she listened closely, she could hear butterflies batting their wings in the hollows of what once used to be a functional pit of her stomach.

Three for a funeral.

She reached her hand into the depths of her throat, nails scratching the raw flesh as she reached into the chambers of her heart, plucked the last flower and, laid it over the grave.

The last white rose, A full bud anticipating its bloom.

“Yours.” The white rose, now painted with blood, bloomed into a red rose in the grave because her heart was colder than the grave she kissed.

Two for mirth.

She was watching the sun come up again by the yew tree, beside the grave of her own roses. The field was recently ploughed. The soddened soil sprouting the remains of her, their roots latching onto the mud, holding on.

The crows still pick at her skin but gently this time, to tell her stories in the patterns they traced over her ashen skin. And just like that, all of a sudden, there was laughter. The sound of her laughter felt so foreign, almost like a threat as it echoed in the vaults of her own ears.

One for sorrow.

The cold breeze made its way to see her once again. Maybe to test if it is piercing enough. This time, she was huddled in wool as she sat beneath the yew tree. The gush of wind made her hair stand up at the nape of her neck and sent chills down her spine.

The wind softened as it took away the fallen sunflower petal she had coughed up.

By Vishnupriya

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