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Shiny Things: Short Fiction, a Response to a Writing Challenge by Dzymslizzy

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Author's Note

This story is a response to the flash fiction challenge put out by DzyMsLizzy in the forum. Here is her challenge:

For anyone interested, for the fun of it, write a short (flash fiction) type of story, in which the following sentence must appear at some point:

"Analisa sat alone on the park bench, the scowl on her face as dark as the gathering thunderclouds."

Have fun!


Look for stories by other writers responding to this challenge.

Shiny Things

Analisa sat cross-legged on the blanket toying with the gold chain and heart-shaped locket her grandma had given her just a few days before she died. She opened it and smiled at the tiny photo of her grandma and grandpa when they were newlyweds. Trips from the city to her grandparent’s farm were her favorite childhood memories.

The warm sun was making her sleepy, so Analisa lay down and used her hands as a pillow for her head. The chain and locket glinted in the sunlight just a few inches from her face. Her eyelids fluttered and closed.

She awoke to the cawing of crows. Analisa sat up on the blanket and looked around. Dozens of crows roosted on the branches of a large oak tree not far from where she had spread her blanket. Then she remembered her chain and locket. She turned back just in time to see a crow grab hold of the gold chain with its beak. The bird hopped away a few feet and turned back.

Analisa crept toward the black-feathered bird watching its dark brown eyes. “You like shiny things?” she said in a quiet, cheerful tone. “Yes, it is pretty, isn’t it. Give it to me now. Nice bird.”

The crow flew over her shoulder toward the oak tree where it was lost in the crowd of cawing birds.

Analisa was dumbstruck. After watching the crows fly away, she called the police. Soon, a handsome young officer arrived. She told him how her chain and locket had been stolen by the crow and about how precious it was to her.

“I’m sorry, Miss, but I’m afraid the crows have flown away and taken your locket with them.”

Analisa buried her face in her hands and wept, not only for the locket but for the memories it held. “I understand. Thank you for coming anyway.”

“Let’s walk around under the tree just in case the bird dropped the locket.” The officer held out his hand to help her up. “It’s worth a try.”

They walked in circles around the tree, talking, and keeping their eyes on the ground in front of them. But the locket was nowhere to be found.

She spent the rest of the week in a dark depression. She blamed herself for leaving the locket on the blanket. The least she could have done was to wrap the chain around her wrist. But it was history. The locket was stashed away in the hollow of a tree someplace along with the crow’s collection of buttons, coins, and pieces of colored glass.

On the following Saturday morning, Analisa sat alone on the park bench, the scowl on her face as dark as the gathering clouds. She had come back to the park one more time, praying for a miracle.

“Hi, again...Miss…” The young, handsome police officer, now in civilian clothes, stood before her. “Do you mind if I join you?”

“Please, have a seat.” Analisa patted the spot next to her and smiled as best she could.

The two spent half an hour talking. The storm was getting closer, so they decided to go someplace for lunch. Before they could get up from the bench, the crows returned to the oak tree. There was a fluttering over their heads, and they both threw their hands up in reaction.

The crow landed just a few feet in front of where they sat. Analisa looked into the dark-brown eyes. The crow took two hops forward and dropped the gold chain and locket at her feet. Then it flew to the oak tree where it was lost in the crowd.

The officer, off duty, and Miss sat in mesmerized silence for a moment.

“This has turned out to be an amazing day,” said the officer. “Too special for just a quick lunch. Let me pick you up for dinner tonight...someplace really nice.”

"Yes, and I won’t have to think too hard about what necklace to wear, will I?”

© 2019 Chris Mills

Comments

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 12, 2019:

Becky, It seems the crows choose who they will be friends with rather than us choosing them. Your daughter is very lucky, unless, of course, she doesn't like crows following her around :)

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on November 12, 2019:

I loved this story. A murder of crows showing up is special and for one to return shinies is unusual. I have a locket that my mom left me in her will. She let me wear it as my 'something borrowed' for my wedding. I was delighted to get it, even though I didn't like the means. My sister borrowed an old cameo and got it.

This story caught my attention, because my daughter is known to her friends as the crow whisperer. Everywhere she goes in town, they follow her around. She was in college and they would always show up and hang out when she was outside. She would walk the one block to Walmart from the college and they would follow her down the street. Then a crow made her nest above her bedroom window. Now those babies are grown and they hang out around my house. They bring her pretty rocks and shiny things all the time.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 12, 2019:

Tiyasha, wow, that is a very special story about the crow you fed some bread to. I know some people who aren't that smart. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 12, 2019:

Linda, I appreciated your excellent article very much. I wasn't sure what name to use for you when I recommended the article. In my notifications, it is AliciaC. In the comments, it is Linda Crampton. Hopefully some of my readers will find their way your article.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 12, 2019:

MizB, The story about your husband's friendship with a crow when he was a child sounds so special. I'm sure he loves to share it with you. Thank you for sharing here.

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on November 12, 2019:

Yes crows are truly very intelligent. I remember giving a piece of toast to one when I was young. It was a bit hard. The crow smartly dipped it in a puddle to soften it before eating. It was a sight to see.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 11, 2019:

This is a lovely story, Chris. I've read the real-life tale of the girl receiving gifts from crows that you describe below, too. Crows are amazing animals. Thank you very much for sharing the link to my article.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on November 11, 2019:

Chris this story was magical, although within the realm of possibility. I loved it. Such a sweet ending.

My husband had a pet crow when he was a boy, and he is always telling me tales about it. He keeps hoping one of the local crows will adopt him.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 11, 2019:

John, they are very intelligent. That is amazing what they are doing around the wildfires. I'll check out your story on Liz's forum.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 11, 2019:

Speaking of crows' intelligence. We currently have a spate of bushfires in Australia. Crows have actually been seen taking embers from one and dropping them elsewhere to force the small animals to try to escape so they can prey on them. I wrote a response to this challenge but it was too short for a hub so it is just on Lizzy's forum...lol.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 11, 2019:

Ruby, If they are near your house, you could feed them. Once they know your face, they are able to recognize you again. Go to AliciaC's articlel, https://owlcation.com/stem/The-Northwestern-Crow-a... and be sure to watch this one as well, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n44g9fQYiXE Then go to youtube and search "crows, intelligent". They are amazing birds. Possibly more intelligent than dolphins, whales, and humans.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 11, 2019:

This is amazing that it really happens. I am an avid bird feeder. Back when I started writing I wrote about my birds, especially my humming birds, with pictures. I wish a crow would come to feed.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 11, 2019:

Thank you, Ruby. Take a look at my comment to Shauna. It explains some of the background to the story.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 11, 2019:

Manatita, happily ever after is my specialty, right? I like a sweet story too, at times.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 11, 2019:

Tiyasha, I couldn't let such a precious gift be lost. See the explanation I left for Shauna. Thanks for reading.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 11, 2019:

Shauna, Thank you. The idea of a crow bringing a gift to a person is something that does happen. I read a story a few years ago about a crow that befriended a little girl. It brought her gifts every day of buttons, colored glass and other shiny things. Her father even set up a video camera so they could record when the crow brought the gift and left it on the bird feeder. So for this crow to return the necklace is not so far fetched.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 11, 2019:

Oh, I loved this, such a sweet story. The crow bringing the locket back was magical, my kind of story. And of course, the romantic side made your story that much better. It takes a great writer with a great imagination to write this story!

manatita44 from london on November 11, 2019:

A charmed ending to the story. Marriage and romance around the corner, perhaps? Nice one!

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on November 11, 2019:

This was lovely. I was not sure whether she will get it back. Did not expect this ending. Great plot Chris. Loved it.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 11, 2019:

I love the ending, Chris. I was wondering why Analisa took her chain off before settling in for a nap. I guess if she hadn't, there's no telling where this story might have gone!

I hope she and her new friend have a wonderful dinner. I have a feeling, it will lead to something. And as for the crow - will he become a frequent visitor to Analisa?

I love this story, Chris. It's sweet and tender.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 11, 2019:

Nikki And Bill, I'm glad to add a little fun to the beginning of your week. Have a good one.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2019:

I do love me a happy ending, so thanks for starting my week off right.

Nikki Khan from London on November 11, 2019:

Good one Chris. You’ve written another story on this very well. Well done. I like happy endings, but there aren’t all the time, look for those too my friend.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 10, 2019:

Pamela, Some of my stories don't end so well for everyone. This was a time for a happy ending. I appreciate you reading the story.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 10, 2019:

John, I was in the mood for everything turning out good for everybody...even the crow. Thanks for stopping by.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 10, 2019:

I really think this was a very good story, Chris. You definitely met the challenge, and I love happy endings.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 10, 2019:

Good job on this story Chris, and we all love happy endings, right?

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 10, 2019:

Liz, thank you for providing the challenge and the prompt. This was fun to write.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 10, 2019:

Shannon, I'm glad you liked the story, and thank you for spotting the missing quotation mark. That is the kind of help that is always welcome.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on November 10, 2019:

Good job! That was an interesting twist, for sure. Thanks so much for participating.

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 10, 2019:

You can delete this comment if you want. I tried to email you from the fan page, but it didn't give me the option to. Thought you may want to know that you missed the quotation marks at the beginning of your very last sentence.

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 10, 2019:

That was a delightful read. Happy feel-good endings are just what I need this Sunday afternoon. And people say crows are a bad omen. Sounds like this one brought "Miss" another shiny thing to enjoy. It was fate. ;)

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