6 - Crows Fell

6 - Crows Fell

A Chapter by Tertia

Chapter 6

Crows fell off the edge of a breeze in a scatter, tumbling in the air like black rags. He wanted to paint them, but they had regained themselves too quickly, and how do you capture a moment like that? As he walked he made a square with his index fingers and thumbs; framing them, trying to memorise the scene in his mind’s eye, but he knew he’d forget. His face creased in anger.

He had packed flat-headed and fine-tipped brushes, tubes of paint, an easel, an unopened palette in a varnished wooden box (a gift from his parents) and some watercolour pads, these were all the materials he could find to sell and they would only fetch about £20, if he was lucky. How was he going to feed them on that? Them? They weren’t an item, a couple, but then there was the pact. Him and Celia, Verrs and Daggs, that would be there couples name. Or Lucy and Luke, his parents called him Luke or Luka and he had always thought of her as Lucy.

The girl from the boatyard rushed in to his thoughts, all glowing and smiles. She was polite and unassuming, not like Lucy who was very sure of herself and not open to compromise. Her eyes were bright, she walked lightly, almost in a dance and she only had laughter and fun on her mind. As he turned a corner she vanished in a puff of black smoke. Each street had side turnings along them that disappeared out of sight in slow bends and each house along each street had three storeys or more and a basement flat beneath. Some basements had a staircase down to a cellar at the bottom of which was a cellar door.

As a last resort he did have the watch his dad gave him for his eighteenth, it had an inscription of his name on the back. ‘Don't sell it,’ his father’s voice echoed ‘If you need money that badly call us,’ But he felt he couldn’t do that, he was at the end of University now, he was older, a man, he had to find his own way. To fall at the last hurdle and expect a hand up was unacceptable.

Down the street, the same one he had walked to the little harbour and met Lana, but a turning left this time to the old quarter and there he saw stalls and outdoor, temporary units all in a jumble. A hubbub of shoppers milled around talking excitedly about what was on offer. Lucas headed for a stall that was usually there, it was run by an old man known as Grey who sold an assortment of things.

‘Good morning,’ he said to Lucas.


‘What can I do for you today?’ he smiled, rubbing his hands together. He was a large, overweight man, with grey hair who’d let himself go, he wore a grey shabby anorak and was unshaven, but despite all that he had a shrewd eye.

‘I’ve got some stuff to sell,’

‘Let’s have a look then,’ Grey said, scratching his stubble. Lucas took off his backpack and unloaded the things in front of him. His watch glinted in the sun catching Grey’s eye. ‘All this is worth nothing. It’s all second-hand,’ he turned a couple of things over.

‘It’s all in good condition,’

‘I can’t sell it,’ Grey said slowly, moving away.

‘I shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m desperate, I’ve got no money at all,’ Lucas called to him. Grey had his back to him now.

‘Let’s have a look at that watch then,’ grey said, holding out his hand. Slowly Lucas took it off and dropped it in his hand. Grey looked it over and listened to it ticking, he looked at the face, the metal strap and the back plate. ‘Ah, inscription. Fifty,’

‘A hundred,’

‘Hmm, It’s worth less than that, so I can’t sell it and make any profit at that price. I’ll give you sixty,’

‘Eighty,’ Lucas stabbed out. Grey stood for a while, still holding the watch.

‘Look this is what’s going to happen. I’ll say seventh and then you’ll say seventy-five. So seventy-five including the art stuff,’

‘Deal,’ Luke held out his hand and they shook. On the way back he went to Lidl and got a couple of days worth of food, including a loaf artisan bread and some nice coffee. He bought a six pack of beer too which left loads over for the trip back to Scotland and his rendezvous with the boatyard girl on Wednesday. He felt bad about the watch and imagined his dad’s reaction.

In the kitchen he opened the tin of corned beef and started boiling evenly cut potatoes and carrots. Lucy (Celia) came in. She was wearing old black leggings, a ripped t-shirt and looked pale, almost ill.

‘That looks disgusting,’ she hissed, looking down her nose. She grabbed a bottle of lager from the pack and slunk off to her room with it.

‘Take it or leave it,’ he called to her.

‘I’ll leave it,’ her door slammed and reverberated around the house making his ears ring. While he was waiting he made himself tea and toast and read a free ads paper. Ten minutes later Lucy came back in, smiling. She was wearing smart blue jeans, a cotton blouse that was open just enough to show a hint of cleavage and had put some make-up on. ‘I’m hungry, I could eat anything,’ she said, shivering. It was May, but the house was cold.

‘Should be about twenty minutes, Lucy,’

‘Thank you, Lukie, I could eat a donkey between two mattresses,’


‘Are you looking after me?’ she said sweetly, going to fridge for another lager. Smiling at her, he shook his head and found himself putting his hand on the fridge door.

‘What are you doing?’ she looked at him, her brow furrowed, her eyes fixed on him. She forced the door open, grabbed another lager and sat at the kitchen table, eyeing him like prey.

‘Want me to be your girlfriend this week, Lukie,’

‘Don’t be sick,’ he spat in reaction and then calmly added after thinking. ‘Got one,’

She took a large swig, letting the little green bottle fizz up. ‘Oh yeah,’

‘Yeah and it’s typical that I meet someone when it’s time to go home,’

‘Should’ve made more of an effort before,’ she said.

‘You don’t get it, Daggs,’ he looked at her, her eyes were far away, she was as distant as the Milky Way.

‘What don’t I get? I know what I do get. I get that you spent most of the three years here as a recluse,’

‘I didn't,’ he growled.

‘You could’ve joined in more and been more friendly,’ she said making her bottle half empty. Lucas served up and they ate in silence, every now and then giving each other sullen looks.

‘I didn’t,’ he repeated softly.

‘I’ll help you with her, if you like,’

‘I don’t need any help,’

‘Dress smartly, have a shower or bath and wear some cologne. Bring a small gift,’

‘I know all that,’ he lied.

‘A nice shirt and decent trousers, I’ll check you over before you go,’

‘Yes, Daggs, yes,’

‘Be yourself, don’t get drunk or act stupid. Don’t brag on about weird stuff or yourself,’

‘I won’t,’ Lucas said. He got up and cleared the plates. He fetched himself a beer and went through to the front room. He switched on the TV and drew the curtains. A few minutes later Daggs came through.
‘There’s no Horror on tonight,’

‘Thank god, don’t remind me,’ she said glancing at him momentarily. There he was slouched in the armchair like an old man who had had his lot of life. He wasn’t exciting or excitable. His eyes were fixed on the screen, his hand gripped on the bottle like he was clinging on to life. If they were married, perish the thought, this is what it’d be like every night. Trapped in suburbia, in a routine, a boring life of mediocrity. This was why they’d had nothing to do with each other, she wasn’t like that, there was so much ahead of her, so much she wanted to do. A dark hour passed and outside the street lights came on showing rain through their glare.

‘I might turn in and do some reading in a bit there’s nothing on,’

‘Your course is finished, remember,’

‘I’m reading a book,’

‘Oh, right, well we could go out,’


‘Come on then,’ she said. Lucas hesitated, hating the thought that he would be drinking away the value of his watch.

‘OK,’ They walked down to the marina, that was a unique feature of the city that they had passed by so many times, but never used as it wasn’t part of their scene. They leant over the rail of the inner harbour, looking at the little fishing boats rocking in the sea breeze; the water slapped and the multi-coloured lights hanging overhead jangled and clattered. People milled about taking in the scene as gulls swooped on litter and chips that had fallen from wrappers. They sat at a table outside the Jolly Sailor savouring their beers and took in the view of the docks and the masts of the big naval ships, decorated with flags and beyond they watched the distant crashing sea silently breaking against the rocks on the headland.

© 2021 Tertia

Author's Note

In the next chapter Lucas sees things in a new light

My Review

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Another chapter filled with your exquisite way of describing settings that don't sound like any other setting I've ever read about (& I read tons). Your settings are unique, lively, unexpected . . . and you throw it down in a light way, as if it's nothing. Not this attention-seeking lavish type of writing some novelists do, as if showing off. Your descriptions are so sparse, but pack a punch of sensory in every line. Also your dialogue has such delightful tension, like sparing back-and-forth, not the plodding that most dialogue comes across as (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Months Ago

This chapter doesn't seem to contain any major events. It comes across as a linkage to the rest of the story. Lucas, broke, has to sell his painting equipment and his watch to get by. His thoughts are on his girlfriend Lana primarily, but Lucy keeps reappearing in the story. We are beginning to see how he may have feelings for her that he has not acknowledged heretofore. It seems likely those feelings will be brought to the surface soon.

Posted 3 Months Ago

great chapter terita,i loved it

Posted 3 Months Ago

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You started well about his drawing effort. I like the bargaining scene of the watch between Lucas and Grey. How they came to a fixation you described it well. Also I loved the description of difference between Lana and Lucy... Well done

Posted 3 Months Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on March 14, 2021
Last Updated on April 27, 2021
Tags: crows, money, girlfriends, dating, haggling, beer, pub, sight-seeing, food, life, people, relationships, Story, chapter, emotions, birds



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