Sora stretched out in the bed of the Main street Motel. Downtown Chicago's finest slum resort. The feeling of nostalgia was washed away, by her excitement. After months on the road, jumping from motel to motel, she would finally have a place to permanently call home. To her the word permanent meant staying in the same place longer than two months. As it was her funds from selling her paintings and photographs were starting to run low. She would have just enough for her first months rent and a few groceries. She wasn't concerned with electric and utility bills. She would figure that part out on the way. She always had luck, on her side to help her land on her feet when something threatened to knock her down.
A chill ran down Sora's spine. She settled into the bed, pulling the covers up to her chin, while she held a map out above her head. The paper was aged and yellowing. A star marked a town called Crossbury, just outside the downtown Loop of Chicago. Tomorrow, this would be her new home.
Sora smiled. She had found the map in the nightstand of her old bedroom, a few months back. The town of Crossbury had a star by it. Whatever Norma's reasoning had been for the map, one thing was clear she hadn't just meant for Sora to find it, but for her to go there herself. That was typical of Norma; if she wasn't speaking in riddles, she was sending Sora on a wild goose chase. Sora followed the path marked on the map, which was the longest possible way of getting to Chicago from Indiana. Sora hadn't acquired Norma's sense of adventure,and was easily growing tired of motels and eating out. The trip only made her miss her free spirited, loud- mouthed, polar opposite- parental figure whom she was always asked to address as Norma, never mother. It had been three months since her passing. Three lonely months.
Sora set the map down and reached for the remote. She turned the television on. An infomercial was playing. She clicked the volume button, increasing the sound a few notches. It still wasn't enough to distract her mind from the memory. Unwillingly, she replayed the events of the accident. The sound was what stuck with her the most. The screech of tires, as the drunken Porsche owner veered into the wrong lane hitting their car head on, the screech of the second car behind her that slammed into the back of their Kia Soul and lastly Norma's cry as she extended her arm towards Sora.
By all logic Sora should have died with everyone else in the three vehicles. There was no explanation as to why she was alive and Norma was put to rest back in Sparrow Indiana. Nothing made sense anymore. Thinking about it only made Sora's head hurt.
Something hit the window of the motel room hard, taking Sora out of her head. Mechanically she walked towards the window, a bird she recognized as a raven ran head first into the glass. Winded it shook it's head before taking off in another direction.
Sora braced herself. If by some chance her mother hadn't been insane, the raven meant her father was spying on her again. Creepy birds. She contemplated leaving out some toxic bird food, but the humanist in her thought better of it. The Ravens had been following her for a little over ten years. It started the day of her thirteenth birthday....
Norma always told Sora that she was special. On the night of her thirteenth birthday, she presented her with a necklace, of pure gold, with a pendent in the shape of the raven; it's eyes crafted from rubies.
Sora was hesitant to receive the gift. She knew Norma, herself could never afford such an expensive piece of jewelry. She remembered the question she had asked her; “Which one of your sugar daddies bought this?”
It was the first time she remembered Norma looking truly hurt. Afterward Sora, felt horrible for asking the question. When she apologized to Norma, Norma assured her that it was a special gift from her father. The father who just so happened to never show himself or bother to phone her. His only way of communications were through unsigned letters without any return address, and little trinkets that he had given Norma to hand to her. Sora chalked it up to Norma trying to make it seem as if her Father was alive and well and that he actually cared for her. Sora knew better; what kind of caring father, remained absent for the first thirteen years of her life? And then the next ten after that....
When two ravens began to frequent her window sill, uncharacteristically, Norma had to stop her from calling animal control. “It's your father's way of communicating with you,” Norma pleaded.
Sora let the issue go. She had truly believed Norma was going off the deep end. After all Norma wasn't even sure what her father's name was. One time she would refer to him as Jake, and the next it was Josh. Norma was sure it was neither of those names.
The ravens continued to follow her, as if they were pets. Sora herself couldn't come up with a logic explanation, but she refused to believe these birds were trained and sent from her father. She kept quiet and never told anyone else about the birds, these were the kind of things that landed people in the mental ward. Their presence; while still unwelcome became less unnerving over the years. But in the wake of Norma's death Sora grew only more confused about her lineage. She should have demanded Norma to answer her questions, she shouldn't have played Norma's games. Why didn't she know a single thing about her father? There were no pictures, no solid proof that her father even existed anymore. Yet somehow, after Norma died, her words began to hold more weight. Maybe these ravens really were a sign. "Yea a sign that I'm just as crazy as she was," Sora muttered out loud.