A/N: This is a piece that had been rolling around in my head for a while. I’m trying to get back into the swing of fiction writing so it’s rusty at best and I haven’t written much flash fiction before. I didn’t think it was good enough to be published but thought it might be fun to share anyways.
Nestled into the handsome mountainside sat a manor strangled by cords of ivy. The estate stretched out across twenty acres of land, some of which contained an apple orchard.
Of the many striking components that made up the Vicker family home, none were as eye-catching as the massive bay windows with rococo framing, so intricate and astonishing they looked like they should be containing stained glass and adorning the walls of a cathedral. They loomed out from behind the railing on the wrap-around porch.
It was a crisp, fall day and Mrs. Vicker was preparing dinner. Heat from the cooking coaxed Mr. Vicker from his study into the sweltering kitchen.
He mopped his brow with a dish towel snatched off the counter. “It’s boiling in here. We should open the windows.”
Apple core in hand, Mrs. Vicker didn’t even look up from her task of preparing the pie for desert. She merely sniffed in response and said, “Not a chance. Don’t you remember what happened the last time?” Apple seeds skittered across the cutting board.
Mr. Vicker debated arguing, opened his mouth to retort, then thought better of it. “I’ll be in my study.”
Sounds of cutlery clinking together and the oven whirring to life filled the short distance from Mr. Vicker’s study to the kitchen. Their oven, while artisanal, lacked in capability what it made up for in beauty, the loud creak it made whenever the door was opened nearly ear-splitting. His wife had finished dressing the chicken. Now it would begin to roast.
Neck craned downwards over a pile of student’s essays, a bead of sweat dripped off his nose and obscured the ink of Harriet’s name.
He would try to open the windows without alerting his wife. The wooden frame exhaled upon unlatching. The house was old and over the years the wooden had swollen from humid summers followed by frigid winters, the frame groaned and the sound echoed through the room.
When the proverbial floodgates opened, the relief was instantaneous. Mr. Vicker stretched his arms above him and basked in the cool, steady breeze filtering in from the outdoors.
Settling into his favorite armchair, Mr. Vicker dozed off before dinner assuming his wife would change her mind when she realized the windows were open and welcome the cool air. The sky was clear, no reason to be alarmed.
Not long after his eyelids had dropped, a crow flew inside the Vicker’s manor, silent as night. Perching on the window pane, its beady eyes drank in the opulence of the room, for all a crow could appreciate.
Only when the crow soared into the kitchen, following the scent of chicken drippings, did Mr. Vicker jerk awake. His wife’s unmistakable shriek echoed through the house.
Sprinting into the kitchen, he noticed his wife cradling her palm. Drops of blood speckled the counter. Startled by the bird, she’d sliced herself in the middle of cutting potatoes.
The crow swooped down again, searching for a carcass. She brandished the dish towel at it and it flew back into the living room where it found a new perch on an overstuffed armchair.
“Get! Shoo!” Mr. Vicker yelled, waving his arms wildly. It took flight once more, strands of cotton dangled from its talons where it had torn through the chair’s fabric.
Mr. Vicker prayed it would soar through the open window from whence it came but alas, it found the mantleplace more suitable.
“Damn crow.” The heat became an issue once more as his frustration grew. His back was sticky with sweat. A newspaper sat on the coffee table. Mr. Vicker rolled it tightly and charged.
Miss Vicker beat him to it. Her broom took down three framed photos and an angel statuette, the crow flew around them in circles, mocking them.
She lunged again and cut through the air with the bristled end of the broomstick. Over and over until finally, she caught it. With a sickening crack, the bird fell to the dining room table. It’s wings splayed and eyes wide in surprise.
Both Vickers stood there, huffing and puffing, attempting to collect their breath.
Miss Vicker eventually turned her angry gaze to her husband.
He trudged slowly across the room to close the windows.
Later that night, after dinner was done and dishes were cleaned, Mr. Vicker thought to himself, over a forkful of apple pie, he had never tasted anything quite so bitter before.