Twenty-Five Blackbirds, part one

This is part of an ongoing project of mine. Bear with the apparent nonsense, because there will be more than a few updates from this character’s viewpoint. Maybe not every week until they are done, and not always one-by-one, but they will be a recurring theme.


First was Jenny darling, apple of all eyes.

On swift and careless wings did she fly to her demise.

First is Jenny O’Toole, the Dead Girl at the End of Every Sad Song. Her light green raiment was still damp from the bottom of the riverbed where she drowned, though the way she pranced from cloud-to-cloud, you would think the water weighed her down not at all.

She was not always first. Thing is, when they nailed them down, bound their forms to strict concepts, she laughed it off. She ripped the iron nail out of her flesh, and seized the end of the chain that bound the rest of them together. Their captors had likely planned to toss them over a cliff, chained to stones to prevent them from rising out of the waves. Just like in the stories.

When one of us would get bound to a thing that we have already used to define ourselves, it only makes us stronger. So, she yanked on the chain, and went on her merry way, dragging twenty-three assorted bodies behind her as though they were wheeled toys on a string. Must have caused quite a stir throughout town that day.

Time was, Jenny would be our best infiltrator. A touch of glamour, and no one commented on her pallid skin. She just looked like any lost waif that got caught in a storm, and you folk just love to take in lost children, especially ones that sing as prettily as she. Sure, there were a few times that her game was off, or the couple was rude and miserly, and she would end up tossed at the stoop of a church or orphanage, but that never stopped her from playing her game. Instead of sneaking about, opening locks and raising a ruckus, she’d show up face-down in the well and cause some poor sod to have a heart attack while drawing the morning water.

Especially in smaller communities, thing like that happens, it can go one of two ways. Either the people get suspicious, throwing accusations and witch-hunts at one another, and chaos descends until someone inevitably dies. Or, the town simply decides as one that it never happened, that it is a taboo subject. They blissfully lapse into willful ignorance, deliberately ignoring anything even slightly out of the ordinary.

Either way it went, it was beneficial for us. Either we could take advantage of the chaos and strike while the people were rioting, or else enter and exit with barely a hooded cloak for a disguise, taking our due and vanishing without comment.

Please understand, I am not by any means defending our ways, or our methods. But unless you understand them, you will be hopeless in your efforts to overturn them.

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