“Stay with me until I finish my lecture on Stonehenge. We’ll circle Stonehenge. It is now divided into ten educational stop points which you hear via a hand-held listening device. You may then walk around on your own, take pictures to your heart’s content and get lunch at one of the food concessions. Just remember to be back to our tour bus by 1-oclock. Please don’t force me to look for stragglers.” Lumpy Stronga MacTavish then began her mini-Stonehenge lecture.
There was an occasional bright blue flash within the gray clouds blanketing the sky. There was no thunder and no rain. As they stopped at the first station to listen and follow the verbal guideline to understand what stones they were looking at, Kane saw the large crow flying low overhead. It landed on top of the first two vertical massive stones joined by an equally huge horizontal unit. Kane looked to his right as Sorel began to take a photo. He wanted to tell her his thought about the crow being the same bird from London. Sorel’s concentration dissuaded him from bothering her. They moved along to station two and three stopping at station four.
Slightly within the circular Stonehenge was a singular vertical stone with a rounded, breast-shape rock with a nipple-like stone on its tip. The crow was atop the column actively pecking and squawking as it looked toward Kane and Sorel. It was Sorel who commented first.
“Look Morgan, there’s a large crow pecking away on top of the single pillar. Let me zoom in on him and get a better picture.” Sorel focused with her extended lens. “Oh my God, Morgan.”
“What?” Kane looked at her concerned expression as she handed him the camera. Kane stared at the crow. “He’s trying to dislodge a small stone. Why would a bird do such a thing–especially a carrion bird like a crow? And the bird isn’t even scared of the lightning in the clouds.”
“No, Morgan. Look at the bird’s right shoulder or right wing–whatever you call it.”
Morgan saw the white turned-up feather. “His white pushed-up down feather? What of it?”
“Morgan, it’s the same bird from on top of the bus back at the hotel.” She stared at Kane who handed her camera back. “I remember the feather when I took his picture on top of the bus. I mean, it’s so unique. The crow is totally black with a small downy white feather ready to be shed.”
“I know. He’s the same crow who woke me up this morning and he’s been following the bus down here.”
She continued with a puzzled look. “You did say something on the way down but I was trying to listen to Stronga. Why on earth would a crow follow you or anyone for that matter?”
“I haven’t a clue. Let’s move to the next station.”
They moved to subsequent stops along the circular boardwalk listening to the lecture at each one with their handheld, telephone-like electronic guide. Bright blue lightning flashes continued at irregular intervals and continued to be accepted as normal background scenery. Kane caught Sorel glancing back at the crow atop the large rectangular pillar. Their eyes met. “You have to wonder what the hell he’s doing,” Sorel commented.
The moving tourists urged them to continue moving around the Stonehenge circle. After the last station they headed back to the concession stands outside the tour bus parking lot.
“I’m starved,” Sorel said as she inhaled the aromas from the small food court. “And I have to buy some slides of Stonehenge from the gift shop.”
“You took a lot of photos. Why buy some more?”
“It’s the journalist in me. You can’t get enough back up. I mean, I could drop and damage my camera or it could get stolen. We tend to think in worst case scenarios.” She smiled and disappeared into the gift shop.
“Caw. Caw. Caw.”
Kane looked up. The crow was standing on a wooden ranch style fencepost not twenty feet from him. The blue lightning was more active within the clouds. It still was not streaking downward and seemed to be now focused above Stonehenge. Beside the crow’s feet was a quarter-size diameter stone. Kane moved toward the bird that stood fast cocking its head and staring at him with a red eye. When Kane was within arm reach the crow flew to the next post leaving the rounded stone. Kane approached the post and looked at the little rock. It was perfectly round and without any peck marks. It was like a smooth stone that had been readied for a jewelry setting–not carved from a solid piece of primeval granite. He looked at the bird looking at him and he touched the stone.
The bird made more noise but remained on his fence pedestal and didn’t stop his cawing until Kane picked up the stone.
Kane placed the stone in his left palm and closed it. A bright blue intra-cloud flash suddenly gave more illumination to the gray cast atmosphere around him. The signs around the grounds threatening prosecution against any purloining of Stonehenge fragments seemed to be highlighted with the blue flashes. As his fist closed around the stone, he felt electricity flowing up his arm. Kane became light-headed and a warm feeling flowed from his left arm throughout his body. He reached for the fence to hold on and felt the dizziness fade and the electricity tone down to a dull buzz. Kane slowly opened his hand and looked at the Stonehenge fragment.
“What in the world,” he mumbled. He looked around and no one was glancing his way. Kane turned back to the stone. It had changed from its simple rock appearance. It was pulsating and glowing a penetrating sapphire blue. Suddenly the complete gray clouded sky calmed down. The blue flashes within the clouds stopped. He became aware of Sorel coming back.
“Morgan, I got my pictures. Let’s grab something to eat.” Sorel moved easily in the warming air now that the sun broke through the clouds. “Oh, there’s our crow again.” She whipped her camera into position and clicked off several shots.
Kane pocketed the Stonehenge pellet and forced a smile. “Good idea. I haven’t really eaten much the past few days.”
They glanced over their shoulders to the fence and saw the large black crow with the out-of-place turned-out white feather, fly rapidly to a scoping circle above them.
“You have to wonder about that bird, Morgan.” Sorel looked skyward and then ahead to the indoor eatery.
Kane lightly touched her elbow to keep from losing her in the crowded restaurant entryway. His thoughts weren’t on food. A strange tranquility had occupied his mind and body since he had pocketed the stone. Yes, you have to wonder about the crow and his mission to deliver this stone to me.
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