Dusk was falling over the Thames, earlier and earlier as the year wore on. The tide was ebbing, and few boats were upon the water, a few little gigs and lighters, lit by lanterns to bow and stern. A train made its way over Charing Cross bridge, smoke mixing into the Western twilight.
Aristophanes Brown smoked a cigarette from a balcony, for once alone in his warehouse. Carina walked the moon-a-muck and Lady Alexia had been out all day visiting metal suppliers. He had done nothing, save write a dreary piece about a theatrical codswallopery that had disgraced a minor West End stage the night before. He really hoped the Times reviewed it well, it would reinforce in his mind how wrong they were about everything.
The crows were making their way across the river from the South after a day spent foraging in clutter and rubbish, a day spent finding pickings amongst the rubbish of humanity, a day spent squabbling over carrion in London’s stews. To their roosts they headed, the stark naked boughs of the parks, the roof of St Pancras, their to watch the gin drinkers and city gentlemen at plague and play, all taken in through intelligent eyes to a crow mind frustrated evermore by the curse of wings over fingers. No engineer or pickpocket would match them, were they to evolve fingers and thumbs.
Their numbers were vast, and endless Styx of silhouettes against the indigo-violet. Home they headed, helped by the breeze under their coal black plumage.
“I wish I could build a mechanical crow” mused Aristophanes to an audience of no-one but the birds. “Imagine what one could do with the control of such a machine, using this natural spectacle for cover…”
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 11.12.14
I watch this from a window where a stream of corvids are doing these very things, writing this in 8 minutes as I do so.