We’ve all had dreams in which moon lizards and their dark companions crawl up from the creek and snatch our brains from our sleeping heads. Hilarious, life-affirming dreams of burrowing like worms in the dirt of an alien planet only to find a bag of hot fries and a few ketchup packets, unopened. Or the classic: I have no face and nor do you, yet your identity is not a mystery, merely a crumbling, melty thing.
I’m not talking about dreams; however, in my story for Transcendent, “Our Shivering Branch,” I’m talking about the Crow Eye Path: a conduit of weirding that can be traipsed like any other sheer ridge.
Go outside and find a crow. I bet most of you can. They exist on five Earth continents (and countless worlds otherwise, if you believe the crows themselves.) Look right in the crow’s eye. It will memorize your face. This is not the time for offensive gestures. The crow will remember you. Some create hooks and would gladly take out your eyes to display on their rumpus room walls.
You have a crow eye now. Oh, did you miss the part where you snatch the crow up in a net and steal the black, never blinking orb? It is not there. We writers talk not of the physical when we ask you to complete a task. We know. You are sitting down. Distracted by words. Perhaps with a glass of spirits in your hand. These are thought experiments only, of course. I call not for violence.
You have a crow eye now, a vision to call upon. Four eyes now: two hiding beneath retractable skin flaps next to your brain, one in the space where thoughts dance, and a crow eye like a jewel in a case. Look at it from all angles and let it look back at you.
Now, that dream you’ve been having: can you hold the crow eye in your head while dreaming? I cannot. Walking, that is the way. Rather a Path than a dream then. We’re out harvesting crow images so our legs are warm. Keep going. Lie down and dream later, if you must, but for now, we walk.
The Crow Eye Path as it appears in the story is a migrating thing, its pattern unknown to the protagonist, but she had other things on her mind at the time. Just happened to dance in the right darkness. Whisper the right words into the right water.
Never asked anyone else about it because she had no one else to ask.
The Crow Eye Path comes when called, she just didn’t know the right hollering tone. You can learn it. That eye in your mind’s eye, like a void pool on a sunless ocean, it has a drone to it the more you spin it. Let the drone fall down into your neck and your teeth will begin to shine. Something will see.
This all sounds like black magic and bugbear logic, I know. And it is. Every moment you spend in your mind, traveling down the Crow Eye Path, makes you into something more than the bag of meat with a price tag attached. We are not fuck cattle. We do not herd. We saunter, we dream, we hallucinate, we write. And we create in nothingness the somethingness upon which death has no hold. Every thought is a necromancy if you dwell upon them. The Crow Eye Path is forever moving. So must we be lest we fall into our maggot torn flesh and stay buried in both body and mind.
Goathead “Craig A.” Buckley is an author of the weird. Whether that takes him in the direction of horror, SF, bizarro, or surrealistic meanderings down the twisty bits of the mind seems to be contingent on the whim of a silver leaf praying to the moon for annihilation. He has been published on various outlets of the weird in cyberspace. This is the first manifestation of his thought in the meatspace of officialdom. Buckley lives in Cincinnati.
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Featured Photo Credit (c) “Shaman Capturing Crow Spirit” Glenn L Callegos