This short story is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.
Rooks have always filled the big trees at dusk, the ash and the poplars that crown the high land. There is no more perfect site to survey all that moves in the fields around, the meadow sloping to the river on one side, and the wooded valley on the other side of the ridge.
On this mild early summer evening, the fields are hushed. The sun slants coolly through green branches and fills the grass with tiny spiked shadows. There is no wind, just the barest breath of a breeze. The poplars flutter their silvery spades of leaves and the light flickers.
Rooks return to roost, beating their ragged wings slowly and purposefully. The black birds circle, hesitant, eying the familiar branches, the tumbled jumble of twiggy nests, and their raucous voices become plaintive and anxious. None braves the foliage. The circles close in and widen again, and the sky beats black. Whatever is hidden from my sight among the branches, whatever hangs amid the fresh, bright greenery drives them away, sure as eagles. I take a step closer, and already the hairs rise in warning on the back of my neck.