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News & Features » May 2014 » “a murder of crows” by Antonio Hopson

“a murder of crows” by Antonio Hopson

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

This week, Antonio Hopson will take us to observe a murder of crows. Next time, Mickey J. Corrigan will bring us into the life of one skilled Palm Beach hitwoman.

antonio hopsona murder of crows
by Antonio Hopson
West Seattle, Washington

In their black eyes, one could see morning’s sun rise into sweet rapture . . .

A hopeful chirping began and the creatures in the thicket picked and preened through phantom pictures of meals and activities that they might find on this new day. Somewhere in their cognizance, they visualized the dropped sticky sweets left on the beach; or the butt-ends of crumbly hot dog buns; purple gum; or chicken bones with gristle. They dreamed, or perceived to dream, of fattened squirrels and cats that might be left dead in the city’s streets, spines, a limb or two—something that would sustain them, body and soul. In their mind’s eyes they stood over the carcasses and culled flesh from the bones and then flew into the clouds with dangling entrails.

Beaks clattered.

Some of the creatures were not interested in food at all. Some dreamed of sex—sex in the trees, sex on a telephone wire, in an old dusty attic, on a chimney. While the sun continued to rise, these birds preened themselves in foppish detail and picked obsessively at feathers in the pits of their wings.

And there were those who dreamed of war—war with big birds, war with little birds, war with medium birds, and war with a fence post. They schemed: a fierce talon in the eye fallowed by deathly pecking? Or a beak in the eye fallowed by a deathly clawing? It mattered very little who their foe would be, so long as blood be spilt this day!

As the sky ignited, rays of light began to crest the city’s skyscrapers, sending golden warmth to the moss-covered thicket. Shadows from the new light drifted through knotted limbs and made branches crawl like snakes. In a moment, it would be time to fly.

The birds readied themselves.

Some bounced on their perch, exercising cramped muscles, some called out crass serenades, exciting themselves, and others dropped onto rooftops and began pulling at shingles small and loose enough to molest.

The denizens in their houses heard the cawing; the clatter, clawing and the torn, fallen shingles sliding into tin gutters with a clang! Dreary-eyed, they turned off their electric alarm clocks, rolled out of bed; dressed, and in silence, joined the murder.


ANTONIO HOPSON has honed his skills writing speculative fiction, flash fiction and essays. His stories have been widely published (The Harrow Magazine, Lost Magazine, The Piker Press and also NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu’s Exquisite  Corpse). He has received Farmhouse Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award and invited to perform at Seattle’s Richard Hugo House as a featured writer. In 2008 he was a participant in Evergreen College’s Literary Conference on “Activism and the Avant-Garde” and he is a national 2009 EPPIE Award Finalist. Please visit AntonioHopson.com to see what he is up to these days.


Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: May 19, 2014

Category: Original Fiction, Mondays Are Murder | Tags: , , , , , ,