Mother of Crow
By Jenny K. Brennan
Chapter 3 To panic or not to panicLast updated: January 5, 2019 at 19:07 pm
A dusty pile of shattered butterfly, a bottomless pit of dread, a shattered future. All of that could be stuffed in Frederico’s memory hole and covered with some blissful ignorance. If it weren’t for the distant echoes of instant punishment and the true consequence of his failure drifting into Frederico’s breeding lab.
He desperately needed to let his bladder empty itself. He wanted to crawl up in a ball on the floor and wait for this horrible moment to end. The sound of their visitors drifted ominously through the silent building, but wasn’t rowing stronger. Not yet. But in a rare moment of pure selfishness, Frederico’s self-preservation kicked in, Truth was: staying where he was, like a fool, would not be helpful.
they would not move ever again. Maybe they would get a last scenic trip to the Nest Capital for repurposing. Maybe. But the look on John’s face shattered all illusion. the big man trembled and any second now he would start blubbering. the sound of click and scrape mingled with the so helpful abbot’s joyful blabber were still far away. The corridor made three turns before hitting the cloisters eastern wing, where Frederico and his Butterfly operation was located. It was in the farthest corner of the oldest part of the main building, closest to the rear gardens and the secondary garbage pile, not needed anymore as the total number of residents had dropped from nearly a hundred to less than twenty in the last decade. John raised a hand and pointed at the door and tried to speak. In an instance, Frederico made up his mind. He put a finger to his lips and John shut his mouth. Frederico’s illusions drained away quicker than he could hold on to them. The benefactors. That word was a mockery. The guardians didn’t accept failure and Frederico had failed. “”Shh.” He stopped to listen. Still distant, but their so called benefactors were coming. Benefactor. In just a few moments, The concept of the guardians as benefactors had become a mockery of everything good in the world. The Abbot believed the guardians kept them safe. Safe from what? He didn’t know. Frederico hadn’t been outside the cloister walls in months, outside the monestary property in nearly twenty years. Where had the time gone? Where had all the missing monks gone? A few of them, like the aged Rafael had died ob old age. A few of the older monks had died from prolonged illness and in one case, a fall that broke too many frail old bones to mend. Where had his mind been? His sense of truth? He suddenly felt his body in a way he hadn’t just that morning. He was thin and his robe hung on his frame like little more than rags. He remembered eating, but didn’t know what or when. He recalled working, but didn’t know why. The butterfly. He blinked the mist out of his eyes and stared at his hand. It trembled. He closed his fist and didn’t recognize it at first. Then it came back to him. The self. I am me.
“Fred?” John watched Frederico with wide eyes, “Brother?”
The sound of John’s voice jolted Frederico out of is inaction. He rushed to the open door and peered out in the misty passage. The sound did not indicate any kind of hurry. The Abbot was one of those that should have died of old age decades ago, but he lingered well past his due date. And he was slow. it would take the abbot a good long while to guide the guardians to the right chamber. If he could even remember where it was. But he couldn’t count on the old monk forgetting. Not this time.
He had to put his faith in age. The Abbot and his visitors had to make their way through a maze of narrow corridors. It was a less than optimal part to live in if one wanted company, but growing butterflies in the midst of monks on duty in the main garden and the library complex was unthinkable. It was also a good five minute walk through dusty passages past crumbling artefact collection and empty rooms and chapels.
he stared at John and his metallic coverings. That wouldn’t be good. And he couldn’t leave the man behind could he? the thought shamed Frederico into action. He quickly inspected the metal parts and knew that as soon as John started walking, the sound would reverberate and spread through the echoing building to eager ears. He looked around the room and thought frantically. Removing the armour wouldn’t work. Unfastening the straps and buckles holding John’s suit together would make just as much noise as leaving it on. But maybe he could do something about that. If John could cooperate. But first. He hurried to the heavy door and tried to remember when he oiled the hinges last. Remembering John’s entrance earlier he tried to recall if the door itself had made any noise. He didn’t think it had. if he was wrong, he was bird food, but if he was right, it could win them a few moments. He pushed the door closed. it swung silently and closed with a barely audible thud. He released his breath and saw what he was looking for. A pile of discarded blankets and polishing rags lay in one corner. John’s tear-filled eyes followed Frederico’s doings. Frederico caught his eyes and put a finger over his lips. He leaned close to John’s ear and with barely a breath he whispered, “We will get out of here. But you have to be quiet. do you understand me, Brother? “ The big man frowned and opened his mouth. Frederico quickly put a hand over the trembling lips. “When I say quiet I mean absolutely quiet. No talk. no moving. No questions!” He waited a moment. John blinked furiously but his eyes lit up and he nodded. “Good, very good.” Frederico didn’t stop to listen. What was the point? He muttered to himself as he got to work.
About the author
Jenny K. Brennan is a Swedish/Canadian vocalist, songwriter, and writer living in Ontario, Canada since 2002 with one husband, one dog, and unfinished projects in the thousands. Find her on
The House of Imp,
Icarus Machine official,
JennyK Productions Youtube,
and other places. She is the lyricist and vocalist in the melodic metal band Icarus Machine since 2015. She studies braille at The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually impaired. On her free time, she learns Wordpress by trial and error, audio production using Apple Logic Pro, and carpentry by association.