Based on a dream my cousin had.
Last night, she dreamt, as she often did. She found herself outside, walking to class in a strong, golden, ethereal sunlight. The sidewalks were empty and the world around her was silent. A gentle breeze moved through the leaves, but barely; she could not feel it on her skin. The foliage was the only thing that moved. She knew she was not late, so she walked slowly, but never seemed to make much progress. It had been some time before she even noticed the glistening purple-black bird following her.
The Crow did not molest her. He was silent and flew noiselessly through the sultry air, like an owl. She watched the bird now and then, walking backwards so as to see it more clearly, but after a while she lost interest. Still, she had not yet reached her class.
“You will never get there,” a voice delicately murmured in her ear. She glanced to her left to see the Crow gliding beside her, level with her shoulders. “Perhaps we can converse while you walk, to pass the time.” She mulled the words over for a few moments before nodding assent. The Crow seemed to inspect her closely before continuing. “What would you like to discuss?”
“Death, I think,” she said, biting her lip thoughtfully.
“Ah, yes. Death is how you see it. Death is you, all that is around you. Death is me,” the Crow replied.
“Yes, I know. That is why I am confused. Why are you following me and why are we talking? Death traditionally offers a last game to the victim,” she thought aloud.
“Well, I should hardly call one who dies a victim of Death,” the Crow began. “You see, you die to escape. It is sleep and peace and all the pleasures that come when pain ends.” She nodded as he spoke. The two entered a tunnel of trees lining the sidewalk. Speckles of burnished bronze and burning yellow light played across her skin and over the bird’s wings and back. Its feathers shone metallic blue for an instant every time they passed under a hole in the canopy. “Besides, how do you know you haven’t already requested the game? What do you think you’re doing right now? I think you should ask yourself where you are going.”
Pausing, she asked if she had died, but the Crow was silent. Somehow, she understood this to mean she had not – and still lived. The Crow disappeared into the leaves, perching on a silvery branch.
Stopping to rest beneath the sweet gum, she looked into the branches at the glittering black eye and asked the Crow if it feared death. The crow said that it did not. She wondered aloud at this, but the Crow only stared at her, silent once more.