This may be the first time I've had someone else's prose on my blog but I was so moved by Doug's piece inspired by CROWS that I asked his permission to post it here. He posted it already on Facebook and I shared it so this will be a repeat for some of you. But I wanted folks who don't do FB to see it too.
DOUG PLEMONS Review for "And The Crows Took Their Eyes"
Posted on Facebook 10/12/2020
Davy must of heard a noise, for sudden he set bolt upright and found himself waking from a fever dream. Upon awakening it appeared that he was lying in the woods next to a small trail, mostly in a rocky ditch off to the side of the trail. He tried to wrap his thoughts around what might have brought about this strange circumstance. Why was he lying in the cold damp woods on a cold January day? He rolled his eyes to get the sleepy mist out and found that he could not. Wasn't sure why just yet. He looked around him to see a dozen of his friends and neighbors, a-lying there just as asleep as he had been.
The light---and his thoughts---seemed dim and unfocused, like as through the thickest mountain fog. Like the steam you see when you blow out your breath of a sharpish cold morning, except everything he was looking at seemed soft around the edges. Was he still asleep and dreaming? The whole world looked steamy and hot, though he knew it was bitter January.
He got up and brushed the snow off himself and his ragged tattered clothes, such as they were. His pants were torn and his shirt front was all bloody with a great red stain and he couldn't move his arms, but none of that seemed to matter. Not his state of dress, nor his lifeless pile of friends and family, nor the cold. He rose to his feet, then without making any further inquiry of his comrades, began stiffly walking down the short side trail towards someplace and something he knew. It didn't matter that he had no use of his bullet-shattered arms, or that there was a hole he could have buried his fist in on his right leg, or that part of his face was missing. Didn't matter at all. He staggered on out of the side trail, got to the junction of the horse trail that led home, and stopped dead in his tracks.
It seemed to him as he left the cover of the woods that something crucial was different in the world around him, something foundational to his world and his understanding of things. It was devil-moon quiet, for one thing. Too quiet. Usually of a morning a body would hear people on horses or a dog barking off somewhere.... nothing making a sound.
And now something new to consider.... down where this side trail ran into the main holler road, there sat a house setting at the corner where he didn't remember there ever being one. That was a stand of hardwoods he shot a boar hog at one time. But it didn't seem to matter, this difference between what was and what it seemed to be.
And the house....it looked strange and unworldly, made from materials he'd never seen before. Not at all like the old dogtrot cabin he'd grown up in and had began to plow the ground for himself with his papa gone to the war. At least this strange house had a big wraparound porch, looked like.
And there was a rocking chair.
And there was a young woman with dark hair and steady eyes, busy with her nose in a book. As he approached the house, he caught sight of a flagpole and a flag waving in the breeze. And how many stars were on that flag? Didn't matter. He had to find out why everything was so different. Maybe this woman would know. Something was drawing him to her, and she looked up, looking straight at him and showing no fear. Or, for that matter, that seeing him was unusual.
"Hello, the house," he cried out.
"Well, howdy yourself. Who be you?"
"Well I'm Davy...uh, Davy Shelton and-----"
She looked away from the book with a benevolent, knowing half smile, as if she did know something he didn't, and he had to think it, who did she think she was, the Mona Lisa herself? but thought it best to keep quiet and learn what he could. He needed to know something, and there was something unusual about her on that porch, in the same way that his own situation resonated within him. She spoke calm-like, "I think we've been appointed to meet, Davy. I believe you are the very one I am reading about in this very book."
"How so, ma'am?" He was curious. "I don't have a clue even what I'm at...er what day it is."
"Well, Davy, I think the reason for our appointment is for me to help send you to someplace you know. I think maybe you have got stuck between." She said this last with a calm air, like she was talking about hanging out the clothes.
" Between your life and your passing."
"Wha----you mean I feel like this because I might be dead and cain’t quite get there. Why?" He didn't feel dead but had to admit he had nothing to compare it with. He wondered about the others all piled up back yonder and said, "If that be true then I ain't the only one."
"That's what I'm reading here. You might like this book a lot, Davy. It talks about your folks and your life here in the Laurels, and about them folks over in Marshall and why they're acting up the fool. There's a lot of why's and what-fers as to why everybody has done gone out of their mind over the state of the Union. You do know you are only standing here and us meeting like this because the nation is in a war with itself, for its soul and honor, don't you?"
He had forgotten about the war but somehow seemed to be separate from its pain and anguish here in this strange fog talking to this woman who said she was reading his life in some book.
She went on. "Honey, this book writer has got herself some common sense about the war and why your neighbors here in the county have run you out of your house and laid you dead in a ditch. There's some things I ain't gonna pass on, no need to hear it all , but do hear this. Enough to get you on your way. This war has got ever'body ground down to the bare stones, but you do need to know that Marthy is just mad with wanting to track down your killer and that her plan will succeed, but not exactly how she figgered. And you need to know that those who died with you shall all be buried together. And they will always be remembered even in times way down yet from ourn. "
'Well, if I’m dead and I'm able to talk to you, as if something bad happen to you, too?"
She looked at him for a long second then laughed and changed the subject saying, "Don’t none of that matter, Davy. I'm here to point you to where you’re headed. First thing you do is go back up there where you were and y'all will go together. So, run along and go be dead so's you can be buried with the other twelve. Go on now.... they’re waiting for you and they cain’t go till you get there."
"It's the way of it."
Hmm. Seemed like that most settled everything he could think of just now so he said his goodbyes to the young lady on the porch of that house he'd never seen before. A place where he knew to be tangled woods run wild with all manner of God's critters but.... everything seemed to be resolved. That old ground was indeed calling him and so went back towards a place where time had cracked open, and his last thoughts before setting back down in the snow with the others were of the woman.
"I'm from over Kona way. My name is Frankie."
If that last sentence puzzles you, go HERE.