One morning I looked out our front window and saw a dead crow lying at the side of the road. Still in my housecoat, I threw on my rubber boots and ran out the door. I searched the yard for a couple of sticks, and eventually found some I might use as giant chopsticks. I was trying to carefully pick up the crow, when I heard my Terrydactyl yell, "That thing is full of germs. What the hell are you doing?" His words startled me, and I dropped the shiny black carcass. Taking pictures of my dolls on its back was going to prove a challenge anyhow, as its body was quite limp, so I went back inside for French toast. A little later on, the phone rang. It was my dad. He was calling to ask what I wanted for my birthday, and instantly, I knew what I would ask for. "What I really want, no, wait... what I really need is a dead crow. Stuffed." There was a brief moment of silence before he replied.
"Okay, bye," he said, and hung up.
Jack T. Crow is mounted on a branch, and sits high in a corner of the room where I paint. One day, not long after I acquired him, I swore I saw him turn his head. Was he watching me? It was dark, so it could have been my eyes playing tricks on me, but I really don't think so. Later in bed, I closed my eyes, and pictured Jack coming down off his perch, angry about what he had become, pecking out my eyes, and leaving me with two bloody sockets. It's strange, because the moment I imagined losing my sight was the moment the visions began... Well, not so much visions as dreams, and from that night on, I've yet to wake up without having one. They always begin the same way. I climb up on Jack's back, and we travel through space and time, and oh, the places he takes me. We've been in gardens filled with vast graves, and orchards full of babies, ripe for the picking. We've flown across skies of grey and green, and colors I have never seen, passed candy-striped hanging trees, with dead men blowing in the wind. All Jack asks in return is that I paint what we see, or snap a few photos, so we can share our encounters and adventures with others.
On more than one occasion, however, I've found some of the sights a little disturbing. We once spotted a pair of foxes at the side of the road. They were inspecting the body of a dead girl. Some kind of morbid curiosity, I guess. There was an awful lot of blood. There've been other things, as well, unspeakable things that I probably shouldn't commit to canvas, or film, but Jack always insists... and I don't dare say no to Jack T. Crow.
Kelly Haigh was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1970. When she's not at work in her hair salon, you might find her painting, writing/recording music, exploring old cemeteries, or playing with her Victorian taxidermy collection.