The barn was dank and warm; the hay in the loft smelled like it was molding, but Jane couldn’t be sure. She looked around carefully, holding his makeshift weapon down at her side. Thinking again of her unconscious brother back at the hospital, she resolved to find those bastards and make them pay. Didn’t matter if the bullies were 12 years old, she was going to bash their kneecaps in for what they’d done to Dale.
“I told you I wasn’t going to put up with you harassing my brother,” she called out loudly, the barn soaking up much of the sound and making it seem like her voice was smaller than she imagined it. She heard rustling behind her, and she turned on her heel to find the culprit. There was a crow sitting at the barn door looking at her, it’s head cocked to one side like it was trying to figure out what she was doing there.
“You gotta problem, bird?” she asked, holding up the broken tree branch and pushing it forward in an effort to scare the crow off. It hopped back to avoid being hit with the branch but didn’t fly away as she expected it would.
“I have no fight with you, bird,” Jane said. “I’m here for the guys who put my brother in the hospital. Get outta here.” The crow cocked its head the other way but made no other movement.
“Ugh,” she said, scratching the back of her head. There was a strange whistle sound coming from the end of the barn opposite the door, and her eyes moved from the crow, scanning every minute detail. It was too dark too see much, but she wasn’t about to be scared off by unidentifiable sounds, so she marched straight toward the other end of the barn into the growing darkness and musk.
“Come out here and fight me!” she called into the moldy darkness. No one responded, but the whistling grew louder and louder until she had to cover her ears, pressing her palms tight against either side of her head.
Jane screamed, but she couldn’t hear her own voice. The crow was long gone. She didn’t know if she could take much more, and then she tripped and fell into a pile of rotting blankets and hay. When she looked back toward the door, she saw someone, but she couldn’t tell who it was. She saw sparks on the edges of her vision, and then everything melted from dark colors to white.
This post is part of Flash Fiction February.