The Crook That Numbly Stole Away

L. A. G. STRONG: The Rook

“So far, that is of course, as was con—
Ah. There was young Kerrigan, walking casually across the grass. At sight of him the rooks in the tree rose in a body …”

Rose in a body. That bit tells the whole story in an eggshell, the shocking shooting by an old man of the rook among many rooks in the old man’s garden, when the little rooks would have made a better pie for the old man and his wife to eat, an old man like me who shot the bird, as an almost gratuitous murder mistaken for a rook-collective instead of a parliament. And the priest, who witnessed the mercy stabbing of the dying rook by another priest, started marking exams instead of invigilating them as he did before witnessing, in body, such a mercy. But were they really rooks? Well, Corvus, at least. I actually seemed to feel the poignantly numb and gradual dying of the bird by means of this remarkably heart-wrenching, more-than-merely-vicarious experience of a story that I would never finish experiencing before my consciousness became the crook that numbly, if not nimbly, stole away before it knew it flew.


Anthology context of this review:

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