THE DANDELION GIRL, YA supernatural thriller Feb 7, 2019 8:48:19 GMT -5
Post by mariamcd on Feb 7, 2019 8:48:19 GMT -5
It was the sudden exodus of crows from her mother’s lime tree that first told Danni he was coming. Even before she heard the crunching of tires on the wet driveway, or the sound of a car door closing, the crows fled the slender branches and swarmed like bats into the night sky.
All week long, dozens of the birds had flocked around their house, gathering on the lawn like feathered loiterers in a prison yard. Danni had planted herself by the front window—counting crows and pretending she wasn’t. At least ten of them were perched among the limes in the small tree beside the porch.
“Momma, the crows are back.”
Elizabeth Ireland hunched closer to her laptop screen. “Danni, please. Stop saying that.”
Danni pressed her nose against the windowpane and huffed a cloud of steam from flattened nostrils.
“Well, they are.” For the hundredth time that day, there was a curling in her stomach, like a length of wire winding into knots.
She was small for her age, which vexed her, with eyes too large for her face and a wild mane of hair that refused to be managed. Squinting, she drew a face on the steamed glass; just a lump-like circle, mismatched eyes and a crooked mouth. Pleased with her work, she bent and looked through the eyeholes, peering out at the birds in the rain-drenched yard. All ten crows had grown quiet and still, and each pair of eyes stared back at her.
“Momma,” she kept her voice low, “are they regular crows?”
“Of course they’re regular,” her mother replied, not shifting her gaze from the screen. “What else would they be?”
“It looks like they’re thinking stuff.”
“Now you’re being silly.”
Danni frowned at the face she’d drawn on the glass, deciding to add a long, protruding tongue. And fangs. “Since they’ve come, everybody’s upset.”
“I’m upset. Elliot’s upset.” For once, Danni and her older brother had agreed on something. “It’s because of that big, red ‘V’ on all your papers, isn’t it?”
Elizabeth Ireland’s fingers stopped typing. “Who told you that?”
“Elliot.” Danni traced a deep “V” across the face in the glass, then another, marring the image into a smeared, angry scribble. “I think something’s wrong,” she told her mother. Her gaze returned to the crow-laden tree. “That’s why they’re here.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Danielle!” Her mother slammed her hand against the desk and stood. “It’s got nothing to do with the crows!”
It might’ve been her sudden movement, or the sound of her palm smacking hard against the desk, but that was the moment—the precise moment—when every bird in the yard took flight. When the air cleared of their screeching bodies, an unfamiliar car was in the driveway.