Printed from WriteWords -


by  bjlangley

Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011
Word Count: 1000
Summary: An edited version of (I am) Roadkill - I hope this version is a little clearer. Also - which title do you prefer..?

Carrion crows peck at your blackened carcass. Your body is a pulpy mess crushed on the roadside. Only the residual patches of red fur, the same shade as my hair, show me you were a fox. Gavin used to call me his little fox; look at us now.
“Thanks for coming with me,” I say.
“Well, I didn’t want anyone to talk you out of it,” says Gavin.
Another cramp hits me. I reach into my handbag and pick out the leaflet the nurse gave me. I scan the post-op section to see if it is supposed to hurt this much.
Gavin releases the handbrake as the traffic moves on. We creep forward a metre or two, enough to spook one of the vile scavengers. As it flies over the car a chunk of your fox-flesh falls from its beak and plops onto the windscreen. Gavin cries out as the crow caws. Their calls are indistinguishable. He turns on the wipers and your tainted flesh leaves an arc of blood as it is dragged across the windscreen. More death and gore on a day in which I have already experienced too much.
I follow the flight of the crow towards the sinking sun until it settles in one of the leafless trees across the field; the scene a silhouette before an angry and judgemental red sky. I place a hand on my abdomen while he squirts water at the windscreen and continues to caw. When it is clean he turns his attention to the traffic. He opens his window and cranes his neck. I retch as he stench from the nearby waste-management plant hits me, but there’s nothing inside.
“What’s the hold-up?” Gavin asks. His head starts to twitch as he catches the smell of rotting waste. He closes the window then glances at me.
“You better not throw up in here,” Gavin says, “I’ve just had it cleaned”. It must be nice for him to have things in his life that be cleaned up so easily. Drop it off and someone will remove all of the filth. No more worries.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “Are you alright?” He places a cold hand on my knee. I jerk my leg away from him as revulsion swells and builds to another abdominal cramp.
“Listen, Fiona,” says Gavin, “I don’t think we can go on after this.”
A motorbike zooms down the outside of the car. He starts cawing again and I realise that he is right. I turn to look at you. The birds keep pecking. One darts its beak into your eye. I cramp up again, squeeze my eyes closed, and try to block it out.
I’m back in the operating theatre. The surgeon has his back to me. All I can see is his blue gown, and black hair sticking out of the bottom of his surgical cap. Some loose hair drifts toward the floor. I glance down, see a pile of feathers, and understand. It’s not hair. I look again at the gown and the space where the surgeon’s legs should be. I try to get up, but the anaesthetic is already working. The gown falls away. A murder of crows hover in its place. They flap towards me and flock around my frozen legs. Their beaks are inside me, tearing fleshy chunks from my baby. They pull out their blood-wet heads and tip them back to swallow before delving in deeper for more.
I scream as pain shoots through my entire body as if the crows are eating their way out from inside me. I bolt out of the car and scream. I fold my arms across my belly and squeeze. I can feel the emptiness in my womb.
The crows are not startled; they continue to feast on your carcass. And inside the car Gavin is flapping. He grabs wads of paper towels from the glove box and mops the seat. I stomp towards you. The beady black eyes of the crows stare at me. Even as I approach they thrust their beaks down again to tear off one last strip of your flesh before they fly for the nearest tree.
From the car Gavin stares at me with his beady black eyes. He has picked at me over the last few weeks, torn away the flesh of my resistance. His persistent pecking convinced me that he was right. He talked about the thing growing inside me as if it were some kind of deformity, but as I watch him flit about in the car I understand that he is the one who has changed.
The traffic trickles forward. Gavin pulls up beside me. He leans across and opens the door. I know he’s telling me to get in the car, but all I hear is ‘Caw, caw, caw’. I notice the bloodstain on the front of my dress, and start to weep. I sit on the verge and the crows return to you. I pick up a clump of mud and toss it at them. It explodes as it strikes the road and they fly off again.
I don’t notice that Gavin is out of the car until he is almost upon me. His wide wingspan blocks the fading sun’s rays and we’re both enveloped by his long shadow. I imagine those wings spreading around me, suffocating me. I pick up another clump of earth and throw it at him. It strikes his leg and he hops on one foot, flapping his wings wildly.
The traffic moves on again. Horns beep as they pass Gavin’s car. He takes another step towards me, but when I pick up more mud he scurries away. He crows at me from an open window then pulls off.

I’ll stay here to protect you from the scavengers. I’ll stop them from pecking at your body. I’ll stop them from feasting on your flesh. And maybe, if I stay here long enough, I’ll learn how to stop them feasting on mine.