The Crow Matron
Nonetheless, as the trees turned red to yellow and you yearned for a break, you settled down on a park bench with practically no direction for anything whatsoever. Really, you were trying to find a reason to remember something over the past few months or so that wasn’t going to die out after weeks – and failing horribly at that.
You’d heard of monster girls coming into the area recently. The local area held high standards in monsters – which was at least something good. You’d heard dreadful tales of what monsters were like in the other world before the second demon empress, where they would forcibly take men for themselves. But the ones who moved in seemed more than happy to subsist off proper relationships. But you never felt confident in having anything one of them could want. You lived alone, and the job you had was for your own monetary gain and nothing else.
Trying to put it all out of your head, you sat back and listened to the sounds of nature. At least you had something to help you sleep at night.
One such sound sounded like a crow cawing – or was it?
The sound made your perk up your ears, and you listened to it again as you tried to imagine it. It certainly sounded like something a bird would make – but it had a bizarre human quality to it, as you heard it repeat in your head. Was it a harpy cawing?
Standing up to find it, you heard it over in a bunch of condemned woods, listening more and more as you approached the source, closer and closer as you called for it. You weren’t certain of your perceptive abilities, but you were more than certain to suss the source of the sound out. This certainly sounded human. Still, you approached it carefully. You’d heard tales of dark things in these woods, and you didn’t want to drop your guard now.
One the other side of the treeline, you made out someone dressed in red. Carefully, you stepped closer to approach her. Certainly, you were expecting a bird girl of some sort, judging by the sound. A crow tengu, perhaps? She cawed once again, and you were pretty much mentally checking off that this was a bird girl.
But when you finally approached her, you realized that this wasn’t a harpy of any sort. Certainly nothing like the bird girls who lived away from you. Her outfit had a trim of feathers, but none of them seemed like they were physically part of her. Her neck was elongated noticeably, far more that you had seen on any human or humanoid - she seemed like she was taller than most humans, including you, at that. But one of the most striking things about her were her arms. Both seemed to form inky black hands from stumps.
Certainly, she seemed like an odd one. But nonetheless, you were curious, so as she noticed you, you decided to introduce yourself.
She smiled for a while, but she continued to make bird sounds. Curious, you asked if she could speak, uncertain of how to handle a mute girl. She opened her mouth wide, and pointed inside. No tongue at all. Even weirder, it seemed like she should have had one. What happened to her, assuming that was true?
You weren’t sure as to how to approach this situation, as nothing had told you as to how to interact with a mute person before. You’d probably have a real hard time communicating with her too, since sign language was out of the question.
Still, from what little you got out of her, she lived nearby. You felt a little like you were talking to a brick wall at times, but with what little ability you had you tried the best to decipher her body language. As you spoke, you noticed the palette knife she was holding. Trying your best not to bring it up but staying on guard in case she decided to stab you, you curiously asked her how her day was. Though it didn’t take long for you to think that was a stupid question.
The response she gave off was something relaxed – at least, that is how you read it. Still, after the day came to an end, you decided to call it a night, and said your farewell. She waved goodbye to you – you took it that was the only way to do so for her. And so you headed home for another uneventful day – though you swore you could feel something on your shoulder as you did…
The next day, you had decided to head out in the afternoon after work for another breath of fresh air. While you were out, you happened upon the crow woman again. This time, she seemed to be picking things up from the ground. She went about her business while you decided to step from afar and watch.
Bit by bit, she gathered items from the ground, mostly twigs and things, but maybe a dropped ribbon or button here or there. As she did, she walked to a canvas at a covered picnic table installation in the park. Of course, you had little but to assume she had set up said canvas herself.
Not wanting to be intrusive, you only casually strolled by as you walked past her, noting the composition. The canvas had several fine colors of paint, but you noted a detail of tendrils as you took the time to watch from afar as best as you could. The part you focused on the most was as she added things from the ground to her canvas, how gently she went about it.
Ah, she was quite an artist. As you turned around to walk by her, you noticed a crow sitting on your shoulder. Another one flew by, then another.
As you registered this, you noticed them lining up around the strange crow woman as she painted. This was odd… you could make the connection rapidly enough. You stood transfixed again, looking at the fine art. She certainly was adding some details to the pic at an astounding rate, though one might wonder what was driving her. It seemed like she had an idea in mind, judging by how deft she was with that knife.
And then, as though something always was to go wrong, you noticed something landing on your shoulder. A speck of rain.
Immediately, your thoughts jumped to panic, as a quick look up showed only clouds above your head. You had heard that the rain would get quite heavy for the rest of the day and tonight, too.
Oh shit… that beautiful picture wasn’t going to safely move an inch in this weather, wasn’t it? Thankfully, you had the money on hand, and you knew where to find a decent DIY store. Telling the mysterious woman where you would go, you decided to run off.
Soon enough, you had managed to come back with a piece of plastic tarp. By the time you had returned, the rain was starting to pick up, so with her help you wrapped up that piece. But as you did, you wondered if she wanted more help. Curiously, you asked her if she would be willing to help carry the canvas somewhere safe.
She nodded her head surprisingly quickly, and before long the two of you carried the canvas down through the woods, and towards what you assumed was her home. It was going to be odd visiting where this monster girl – one who probably didn’t fit in with others - lived, now that the thought arose in your mind.
The destination turned out to be an old, seemingly abandoned house on the edge of the city. The rain slowly picked up the pace, and you were glad to at least have cover… but now you had to eye up the structure that you had entered by circumstance. It was a wry, dry place, the front entrance far more well kept than you imagined a woman like this would care or be capable of. But as you stepped into the back room where you had suspected her art studio was, you did see a more legitimate mess. Paint in a few places, but there were tools and bits and bobs of all kinds that one could assume contributed to her artistic endeavors.
As you did, you left the painting on stand on the side of the room. She cawed again, and you could only respond by saying she was welcome. However, noticing a piece of paper for sketching and a pen were both available, you decided to get an answer out of her. Explaining what you meant for her to do, you asked her, and she agreed. After a short while, she turned the piece of paper to you, and you read:
“My name is Carmina Mora. I do appreciate your help.”
Ah, that was good! Nonetheless, you were glad to have helped. She wrote something else down on the paper once again, and you watched with intent.
“I do know that my home here is probably not suited for you to live, but I think the rain may clear up in a while and I would love to let you stay.”
Sure, why not? So you stayed for a few hours while the rain cleared.
She had a fine selection of tea, so you decided that it wouldn’t hurt. Come to think of it, she probably wouldn’t be able to eat most foods without a tongue… as you observed it, you bought it up to her.
“I was captured by a cult and they cut it out of me. And my hands.” She wrote. That… was certainly news.
“They cut off my hands too, but I was given them back.” Oh, your reaction to that was a little muted.
“I don’t know what gave them back to me. My mind has been a haze prior to appearing in this world and taking up residence in this derelict estate. Ever since I have taken time to paint to ponder on this world.”
Well, that certainly punctuated the meeting as well as she punctuated her writing. You remembered the event happening on TV, and how it seemingly gave you a chance to solve your problems. Maybe now you had gotten something at least memorable out of it.
“It’s been great to know you.”
You smiled at those words. As you did, you noticed the rain had stopped at last. However, you had no intention of staying the night, so you thanked your new friend and decided to head home. And before she left, she had some parting words to write:
“Thanks for the help, for my art is a way to free me from what I have lost.”
Pondering those words, you gathered everything up and returned to your countryside house.
Days had passed, and you had been sleeping quite well, but little had really changed after meeting Carmina for the first time. You didn’t really see even a romantic relationship to start with her in the slightest, but you knew better than to make everything about getting a girlfriend. Society’s emphasis on having an engagement might have been the cause of some problems, as odd as that might have came off to others.
Still, you were preparing yourself for another day as a crow landed on your open window and left a letter on it – one addressed to you. Surely, this wasn’t a coincidence, right?
Opening the letter, you saw inside was an invitation to the Halloween ball down at a gallery near the city. You were curious, but felt that it would be good.
Taking the time to note the venue, you remembered you had a car, so it wouldn’t be a far drive down to the event. Thankfully, there wasn’t any real need for an outfit, and so you arrived.
As you did, you took the time to admire the event, you noticed that someone there was wearing a fine mask and dress she designed herself. Carmina. You probably felt that it might be good to keep your distance for now, but the new outfit she wore looked wonderful. Hell, you even snapped a few photos since they were allowed.
You photographed and kept your eyes open on the gallery. Indeed, as you did, you felt an invisible thing sitting on your shoulder, and somehow it guided you toward an exhibit where judges examined the entries of artists in a competition. It didn’t take long before you found Carmina’s picture, with it’s pieces taken from the park where she painted it. Indeed, it was a wonderful piece: it depicted tendrils of some sort being banished by a figure with a knife. At least, that’s how you deciphered it.
Still, you nonetheless found a table to sit at for the event, and decided to have something to eat. As you did, you delighted in the sounds and sights of everything, from a man and a mermaid coming crashing through the skylight and all manner of stage acts. As the table was open, more people joined you. Most notable was a tall woman wearing a cat mask, who you turned to start a conversation with.
“Good evening!” she said with a russian accent. Of course, that was quick enough to ask her back.
“I come here to chat to others primarily.” she looked briefly through the crowd, then back to you. “I lived in the woods for most of my life, and always wanted a girl of my own to raise. But now I’ve adopted one!” she said, as a little rabbit girl came over to the table beside you. Certainly a cute one. Of course, you definitely decided to tell her about your living situation in that case.
“You live alone? I get that some like it, but have you ever considered looking for friends?”
Well, that at least made some sense. Of course, you had known that there were other places where monster girls frolicked and made love… but that never really appealed to you. Perhaps after a life that was less social, it was time to go out and visit more people.
“There are many who come from other words like me. Like those on the stage!” She pointed to some guy with a mask and a nerdy looking office worker doing a Wilkins and Wontkins routine on stage.
Of course, you did mention helping Carmina earlier. And when you did, she perked up. “Oh, I know her. She’s a rather sweet person… even if we have some troubled history together.” You couldn’t help but wonder that, but you assumed it probably was for the better not to bring that up. Gladly, you suggested that it was worth meeting all the people you possibly could during this all-nighter.
“Yep, I would be glad about that too. And may I be the first of many. Opportunity is a bird that never perches.”
A paper airplane landed on your table in front of you shortly after she said that. You opened it up, and not long after, you opened it up and read it: “Caw! Caw! Caw!”
You looked back, and smiled at the sender – Carmina. She laughed lightly as she could without a tongue and came over to join you both for a great night.