Sunday 13 February 2011

Doctor Crow

Doctor Crow was doing something odd but godly when the invasion began. He was making bone halos from wolf carcasses. He thought it might bestow dead men with a sense of pack, a sense of belonging. The main reason he was doing it though, like most things he did, was simply because the idea had occurred to him.

As was usual for him in those days, he had the body of a man and the head of a crow, and he was naked. He clacked his beak and raised his feathered head to the sky. Something was coming.

There was a boom like thunder and a flash like lightning. But the thunder had no rumble, as if someone had taken that mighty sound and compressed it down into a single, quick suddenness; a rushed loudness. And the flash hung suspended in the air, a great bright rift that widened until shadows became apparent within.

Even the gods cowered at the intensity of this happening. The tribesfolk, only human, fell to their knees: screaming, gasping, weeping and dying.

Doctor Crow just watched, curious. Compared to that startling moment of All-Creation, when everything in a rush came into being, this was nothing but a murmur.

Doctor Crow, who was known by the humans as the scavenger god, god of rebirth in new form, was respected amongst the gods as Eldest, for none of them remembered a time when he hadn’t been. He looked at the terrified people. He was far more interested in dead things but he had grown unusually fond of the tribesfolk and their antics these last few centuries; they, like him, crafted new from broken. He clacked his beak irritably.

The invaders were from someplace distant. They brought with them a vast technology so advanced that it was indistinguishable from them; they were all mixed up in their science. They were the future incarnate.

They had long ago ceased thinking of their own gods. They had moved beyond them, surpassed them. On other worlds they had encountered such things, but through their lenses and software those mighty beings were reduced to forms of energy and power, to simple creatures. And no creature had stood before the invaders that they could not defeat.

Doctor Crow stood before them now.

Had they looked on him with their original eyes, they would have seen a naked man with the head of a crow. Had they been able to remove themselves from their machines without dying, they might have been able to perceive him. But their devices had no way of detecting him, of understanding what he was. He was not made of the stuff of this universe, he was made of Outside.

Doctor Crow looked on the invaders and to him they were just so much material, barely living at all. He cawed happily and began to take them apart. He could make much from what they had brought him.

Recommended reading: Lutrinae (or 'How Brashness Brought about the Betrayal') by Ben Gosling

My new blog: Will Write Flash Fiction For Food


  1. I enjoyed how you mixed together the backstory of who the god is with the conflict of the invaders. I was intrigued by the god's viewpoint. Certainly don't want to face him; but not sure I want to worship him either :)

  2. I'm not sure he's the kind to worry about worshippers, and definitely not someone you want to get on the wrong side of! =)

  3. I liked the concept of the evolved race having moved beyond the ability to perceive Doctor Crow and the fact that they are indistinguishable from their technology. Also liked his taking them apart - quite sinister that. St.

  4. Glad you like it. =)

    I'm actually abusing a brilliant Arthur C. Clarke quote:
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

  5. The "clacking" of the beak is supreme. That noise goes right into my brain, and I know so much about this guy from that tiny moment of what he does.
    There's a flavor of Firefly Reaver about him, the need to dismantle and reconstruct from the bits (esp things that are rarely taken apart, like bodies); although I do not intend to state that Doctor Crow is in any way a derivative work, very different stuff, each.
    I'd like to see more of this guy or his peers.

  6. Thanks, Daniel (Reginald? ;) )

    I think the Reavers have an intent of harm and destruction about them, Doctor Crow is far more about the reconstructing and creative experimentation than the deconstructing.