Total Wordcount: 61566 (less 4132)
I have recaptured the flow in a rather subdued manner. But with only two days to go, I really must spend tomorrow night doing nothing but writing. I've still got a considerable amount of plot to work through until this part is done. So much, in fact, it seems highly improbable I will get it done before the end of the month - although friday - July 1st, my next day off, will likely be a Good Writing Day. Especially if I decide to disconnect the internet!
A crow dropped from the sky, claws reaching for her. It struck her, knocking her from her feet. She slipped, bouncing, down the rockface, until her long fingers hooked into a crevice and caught.
Another dived, striking a burning blow across her back.
“Go away,” she shrieked, but there was no way to fight them off, no way to defend herself, not without slipping to her death.
Another sliced by, a whisker's width, the flap of its wings stirring her fur. She tried to pull herself up, onto the ledge, but it was too narrow. Her feet flailed, seeking purchase, but finding only the unforviging smooth face of the rock.
The crow landed above her. Peered down at her with one dark, beady eye. She could have sworn she saw laughter in those eyes.
Then it pecked her fingers.
She released her grip, reflexively, slipping down the rock face. I'm going to die, she thought. After all I've been through, I'm going to die like this.
Then a ledge of rock forced all the wind from her lungs and all thoughts from her mind. It took her a heartbeat to recover, and another to stagger upright. Everything hurt – every muscle. Her back felt sticky with blood and she could barely bend the fingers of one hand. And the crows were diving again. So many crows. Four, five, six... there were too many, moving too fast. Best not to count, best just to hide. But hide where? In that dark hollow perhaps?
With one last desperate effort, Aurelia flung herself into the dark hollow. She struck something cold and hard in the gloom, crawled to her feet, turned to face the entrance. The fur on her spine bristled, her lips drawn back. If any birds dared to follow her in here, she would grab them and pluck them and make them sorry for hurting her.
No birds followed. They waited outside for her, cawwing to one another. Laughing.
Aurelia shrunk back and crouched down. She knocked the cold, hard thing again. This time she stopped to look at it.
Recoiled at the grinning face, the sightless gaze.
Even in the darkened interior of the alcove, she could see it was a skull. No, not a skull, a skeleton. Bones picked clean. By time or crows? She shivered, feeling the chill touch of its lemures, haunting the cave.
“What happened to you?” She asked it. “Did you die here, alone? Or is this your tomb?"
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