crow_e

United States

23 neurotic crows in a recycled flesh suit
he/him || 17 || intp-t || lgbtq+
prosaic poet & sci-fantasy fiction writer
community ambassador alum [summer 2020]

standing in solidarity with those angry

Message to Readers

republished with edits - any feedback appreciated

"I told you 'stop going to knife fights!' And what did you do? Go to a knife fight!"

June 10, 2020

FREE WRITING

11

“What did you do this time?”

Keo crossed their arms and leaned against the counter. 

“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies,” Crow stumbled into the apothecary’s workshop and sat down hard on the bench along the front wall. “Get Alethia.”

“I can’t, she’s gathering herbs in the forest,” Keo nodded to Crow’s arm, which he’d tied up in a handkerchief. “I can stitch your arm up.”

“After the last fiasco? No.”

“Hey, how was I supposed to know you were allergic to unicorn hair?”

“Why the devil do you even use that as a suture?”

“Because it’s pure and stays clean. Unlike you.”

“I don’t have the patience for this right now.”

“Maybe if you asked nicely….”

“Keo, get Alethia.” Then, with considerable effort:  “Please.”

“Finally, a ‘please’ out of you,” Keo said. “But no. I told you already, she’s gathering herbs. You’ll have to wait until she gets back if you can’t bear for me to tend to your paper cut.”

“Fine,” Crow pulled his arm closer to his chest. “If I die here, you get to pay off my contract.”

“Stop being so dramatic," Keo scoffed, dragging a stool over so they could sit in front of Crow. They rested their elbows on their knees, chin in their hands. "Seriously though, how bad is it?"

Crow pulled the cloth back and watched the blood drain from Keo's face.

"All Saints...."

"Now you know why I asked for Alethia," Crow grumbled. 

"What did you do?"

"Told you already, ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."

"You need something better than that filthy handkerchief to cover it, at least," Keo dug in their satchel until they found a bundle of thick fabric. "Here, let me wrap it for you."

Crow extended his arm gingerly, wincing as his skin pulled taut around the slice. Keo wound the cloth around his arm, brow furrowed. 

"I got in a knife fight."

"Seriously?"

"I had it under control."

"You got your arm cut down to the bone! You call that 'under control'?"

"The other guy is a lot worse off."

"What did I say about knife fights?" Keo demanded.

"That--"

"It's a rhetorical question! I told you 'stop going to knife fights'! And what did you do? Go to a knife fight!"

"There was a lot on the line."

"Like what, your honour and manhood?"

"Exactly."

"Saints, I will never understand you mercenary types," Keo was still holding onto Crow's arm, putting pressure on the cut. "Why'd you even join that gang in the first place?"

"Money. Something to do." 

"Hey, stay with me," Keo pinched Crow's leg, hard. He jumped, eyes popping open. He hadn't realised he'd closed them.

"What was that for?"

"Stay awake, okay? Alethia told me she'd be back soon." Keo cast a nervous glance at the back door, and as if on cue, Alethia strode in, full basket of herbs nestled in the crook of her elbow. She squinted at Crow for a moment, setting down the herbs. He waved. 

"He got a really bad cut," Keo said, letting go of Crow's arm to sign as they talked. "Down to the bone. I'm no good at stitches for that kind of thing."

Alethia nodded, dipping one hand behind the counter to grab a roll of bandages and something that looked like a sewing kit. Crow looked at the floor. 

"Do you want something for the pain?" Keo nudged his foot with theirs. "We have clove oil that might help numb the area."

"Nah, I'm fine."

"Suit yourself," Keo shrugged and began unwrapping his arm. Crow focused on a dark spot in the floorboards.

For all the times he'd been beat up or cut up or otherwise injured, he'd never gotten used to stitches. He could feel his chest tightening as Alethia cleaned the wound with something that burned and threaded the needle [at least it wasn't unicorn hair thread this time, thank the Saints]. Keo started talking to distract him, but, despite his attempt not to be, he was hyper-focused on the feeling of the needle poking through his skin, pulling the jagged edges back together. It felt like an eternity and a half before she finished, but once she cut the thread, he snatched his arm back and clutched it to his chest. 

"Hang on, we still need to wrap it up," Keo held up the bandage roll. “And I’m getting you some clove oil.”

Crow didn’t protest. Alethia waited for Keo to come back with the oil and dab it across the hash-marks of the thread before wrapping up the wound and pinning the bandage in place. 

"Thanks," Crow fished a couple silver bits out of his pocket and handed them to her, but she pushed his hand away, shaking her head. 

"We don't charge family," Keo translated, watching as Alethia signed. Crow felt heat rise to his ears. 

Family... He didn't like the stirring that word set off in his chest, didn't like those fiddly little feelings it brought to the surface. He stood abruptly. 

"Thank you, again," He bowed awkwardly at the waist in Alethia's direction, then bolted for the door. 

"No more knife fights!" he heard Keo say.

"No promises!" he called back over his shoulder, walking out into the night. 
words:  885 
originally published: 5.28.20
republished with minor edits:  6.10.20

woo some concept stuff for a few characters i'm not sure where i'll be using but still want to. i don't post much fiction on the site but i'm trying to change that! i enjoy it a lot

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  • June 10, 2020 - 7:56pm (Now Viewing)

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4 Comments
  • ~wildflower~

    Replying: thank you so so much for all of those suggestions! That’s so helpful! I’ll definitely check them out :)


    4 months ago
  • jyotsna.r.n

    As soon as I saw the title, I knew I had to read it. Wonderful work on the characters!


    5 months ago
  • mia_:)

    I love the edits you made! The characters are even more developed and I am absolutely in love with the line "Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."


    5 months ago
  • asta

    the characters are fleshed out well despite the piece being so short, and the dialogue here flows beautifully!


    5 months ago