A nearby murder of crows burst into flight ahead of them. Their cackling and cawing filled the air. The man almost smiled upon noticing bits of flesh hanging from the beaks of several of them. It only seemed right that they’d enjoy a feast, as over the past weeks, he’d made sport of capturing a few of them from time to time to feed his pets.
“Just there,” he said, pointing to a pond as he dropped his satchel to the ground.
Mugger approached the water’s edge. “It looks deep,” he said.
“It is—quite. So please, do watch your step.”
As the boy stood off, watching, the man neared Mugger’s side. He got down on one knee. “There, do you see the movement in the water? Just there?” He pointed toward the middle of the pool.
Mugger’s eyes narrowed. He shook his head. “Where? I don’t see anything. What is it?”
“Occasionally, about this time of day, the most unusual creature ventures out for a look.” Glancing up, he held Mugger’s eye. “And here is the amazing part,” he added, before pausing for effect. “It breaks the surface—and then . . . it flies into the night!”
Pulling back, Mugger scowled. “That’s preposterous.”
“You think so? Here. Squat down, just here.” He patted the ground at his side. “The water is clear. Take a look for yourself.” He leaned forward, luring his victim in.
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