(This is from the yet untitled steampunk-new weird-horror piece which I’m thinking will be the first week’s Writeathon story and which I also think may end up at novelette length.)
Doctor Larch has a pet crow named Jonah. He says he raised it from a chick, but I have trouble imagining Doctor Larch patiently nursing anything, feeding it mealworms or bits of meat or making sure it was warm or sheltered. If he has such a faculty for tenderness, he doesn’t exhibit it towards any of the patients.
Today he made an appearance to supervise Mr. Abernathy’s removal from his chair.
They should have realized Abernathy was never moving from it, but the orderlies probably welcomed not having to lift him back and forth. They left him in there till his flesh grew into the wicker, and today he screamed while they cut it away and Doctor Larch watched. He wears a pad on his shoulder for the crow to shit on, but it misses a great deal of the time, and the Doctor’s black coat is clotted with gray and white on its backside.
It’s hit or miss whether or not Abernathy will survive. I don’t know that he cares, either way. Before this, all he did was stare out his window, day and night, looking eastward, towards the mountains the white men call the Cascades.
There was thunder last night. Not natural thunder, but echoes from the battle being waged far out to sea and among the San Juan Islands. We’re close enough to those battlelines that many people have fled Seattle. Others have stuck it out, saying that the lines will shift again, in a different direction.
I have stayed. But where else would I go?