I have this recurring dream about a crow that hovers over me like a Black Angel of Death. I stare into his deep eyes and fear rushes over and through me. I’m always cold: My bones shiver to their very core with their marrow freezing into a rock-solid substance. At first, he flies around me, circling me as though I were dead. Maybe in my dream I am dead. Maybe he alone can smell my decaying corpse to claim it as his own.
He darts down from the clouds and grabs me with his enormous talon. It pierces my body and I scream in agony. Blood pours freely from my sides and I am merely a flaccid piece of meat dangling from his grasp. He carries me into a new darkness; one that I could never have imagined existed. I could feel the black, my fingers could poke it. We fly, almost suspended in the viscous and tangible darkness.
I wish in vain to be back home, safe in my bed. I want so much to feel my blankets wrapped around my body. I prayed to see my wife and to walk the land I had always known as home.
Instead, I’m stolen by flying death.
Time has no significance in my recurring flight. Hours may pass. Or maybe several seconds. I have no way of knowing. Everything is always pure black. Just black and more black and more black.
But then, there’s always a fire that moves out of control and eats everything in its path. The chills I had been feeling give way to an agonizing burning. My skin bubbles and turns to charcoal and falls off in flaming chunks. It’s like I had been doused in burning napalm by the thieving crow.
Then the Crow releases me.
I fall for miles.
I hit the ground and sink.
I climb to the top of the hole that my impact created and see nothing. Just a barren earth awaits me as I emerge from the hole. No trees. No grass. No hills. Just a flat and sandy Earth. I breathe in as deeply as I can, but still I was beginning to drown. My lungs are always losing oxygen. The air has none to offer.
I fall to my knees and crawl. I have nowhere to go, but still I crawl forward. My hands grasp at the sand. Each handful had nothing but dry earth inside. Until, with my last breath, I pull a chain from the barren soil.
At the end of the chain is my St. Joseph medal. I always look to the sky and scream.
The Crow circles above me and sings his throaty death chant…