Three Line Tales: Rook

This is for Sonya’s Thursday prompt.

photo by Julien Laurent via Unsplash


The field around the stone circle was full of rooks, a black cloud of them that swirled and drifted from the centre of the stones, each one with a scrap of darkness in its wings.

He was lost, sickened by the killing machine that humanity had become, desperate to get back to his own time and the simplicity of birth, life and death, and a handful of black plumes would take him there.

He called the birds from the dark times before, tempted one down with a piece of synthetic sweetness with a smell too strong too resist, and snap, its neck broken, he swallowed its black soulโ€”winged now, he was free to return.




Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

58 thoughts on “Three Line Tales: Rook”

      1. Have you ever read The Owl Service by Alan Garner? I did, when I was about thirteen and didn’t understand it at all. I have a feeling it might have been inspired by something Merlin and Viviane-ish. Must reread it.

      2. How funny of you to mention this! I read it when I was a teenager – adored Alan Garner! – and reread it a few years ago. If anything, I felt more baffled by it as an adult than I was as a teen. It’s so ambiguous, with no definitive ending. Authors really do not write novels like this for the YA market anymore. And you’re right – there was a heavy Celtic/mythic story running through it, strong links between the present characters and those from legend. A really interesting book ๐Ÿ™‚

      3. I loved Alan Garner too. Elidor is the one that has stuck with me, the light and shadow play and the suggestion of the unicorn. You’re right, it’s a style of writing (demanding) that has gone out of fashion.

      4. I’m sure I did read Elidor but can’t remember much about it. I reread the Weirdstone of Brisingamen recently too – another slightly odd kids tale, truly sinister. That’s what Garner and Susan Cooper (my other childood favourite) were good – sinister

      5. I don’t know Susan Cooper. What have I missed? I liked the W of B too, and the Moon of Gomrath, but Elidor was my favourite. It brings back memories of Christmas morning and the thrill of finding paperbacks full of magic ๐Ÿ™‚

      6. It was Cooper’s The Dark is Rising books that hooked me, especially The Dark is Rising itself. A special boy, a snowy Christmas, rooks, a terrifying man on a dark horse, the past leeching into the present, Herne the Hunter and the Dark from destroying the world – just loved it. Must reread more Alan Garner – his work was so inspiring to me

      7. I adored those books, lived in that world for a while in my head – every time there was snow (I lived in Derbyshire at the time, so that was more often than you might think!) every time crows called from the treetops. They were both brilliant, lights shining in my childhood

      8. Thinking back, it seems that children’s books were far more often than not what we now call fantasy, and adult books were ‘real life dramas’. It was more a question of literary preference than age that decided us to leave the fantasy world and dip into the ‘real’ adult world of made up stories. Adults weren’t supposed to like fantasy made up stories, just the ordinary kind.

      9. Yes, you’re right. Most YA fiction was fantasy based and I loved it all. It was as if we weren’t supposedd to be interested in real world themes until we were older. It’s all changed now of course – more real life issues in YA and adults reading it too.

      10. It’s one of the bits of advice that doesn’t workโ€”pitch your book at your target audience. It’s hard to pitch at people with no spending power. Are you supposed to pitch at their parents?

      11. Very good point and that particular piece of advice seems to have its detractors too. I’ve seen hugely successful writers claim you shoulde just write for yourself, that trying to second guess what the readers want is impossible, and others say you have to write with a very particular person in mind, to the extent thay’ve invented an individual they imgine when they write. It’s a confusing world, this writing lark!

      12. I’ve seen hugely successful writers who write a load of shite too. It’s practically impossible to ‘do it right’. Luck, or being able to write the right kind of shite is what makes a writer successful, seems to me.

      13. I think if we managed to work out the SEO right and titled it ‘Ten tricks to making your novel a best seller’ (people love lists apparently) then we could be onto a winner ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. (grr, my computer is killing me today). I loved the “scrap of darkness in its wings” too, and could feel his desire to escape from this horrid land. But to resort to such dark magic, he must have been desperate indeed. Nicely painted.

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