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Shattered Marble

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Brokenmarble

A certain Canadian university has a ton of crows; I should know, I'm a student there. There is a generally accepted theory that the crows come here for safety and food, but that's not just the case; sure, that does have something to do with it, but it isn't the only reason why they're here. Crows are very smart animals that know when a human has wronged them; once you've done something that a crow doesn't like, they will remember your face. In the evenings, the crows fly up the campus's hill and nest in the abundance of trees nearby. Students at the university tend to stay indoors during this time, and for good reason; the crows drop small, white chips of marble.

I, along with a friend of mine called Alice, took to the field and the woods behind the campus. It was my birthday, so I figured "why not". There were various bases of what were once religious statues. One in particular was on the top-most part of the large hill where it sat, partially demolished. The remains of the statue resembled a well between two trees from a distance. Alice and I examined every man-made structure behind the campus out of curiosity, including this set of marble remains. The shattered marble was a stark contrast to the flat, yellowed grass that blanketed the field and hill. I picked up a shard, only to drop it when I found some kind of slug on the underside. There had been a building here a few years ago when these statues still had some kind of relevance to the area, so any leftover artifacts would have made a good collector's item. Instead of a marble chip, I settled for two bits of piping that I'd found further down the hill earlier. Perhaps that was a good idea, as I had learned from Alice. She had found a pristine, bug-free chip of marble to take home for herself. I was a nice person, and didn't want to take away the prize she had found, even if it was my birthday.

A few meters away, there was a small pillar that came up approximately to my waist. As we approached it, a dead crow could be seen; its chest appeared to have been torn open by a round of buckshot. Nearby was a broken beer bottle. Perhaps some students partied here, and the crow was shot by someone. It wasn't like these things had much in common, or could have a common cause, could they? Nah, it's just part of nature. Things die all the time, and there were probably people illegally hunting within city limits. Alice backed up in a kind of half-terror expression. I wanted to approach the dead crow to examine it out of morbid curiosity, but she tugged me back.

"Let's go. I have to go at two," Alice told me as she cleared her throat. I simply nodded and we went back to my residence; the walk back down was much easier than going up. Once we were back, she gave me a hug and we parted ways. The rest of my birthday went well, with me getting showered with gifts from some of my housemates.

The next day, as I woke up, I felt an uneasiness in the air. I felt as if there were someone watching me from afar, though I had no idea who that could be. As per my routine, I searched for my card and my residence keys so I could go to get something to eat. I had realized that I must have forgotten my student ID on my walk with Alice, so I went to look for it. I went around the field, searching for that little plastic card. I was about to give up when something white was dropped at my feet. I looked down to see my ID and a piece of marble. I only picked up the card, then turned to leave. As I trudged down the hill, I saw another crow that seemed to have suffered the same fate as the one that I'd seen by the pillar.

Days later, when checking my phone, something hit me: I hadn't heard from Alice since my birthday. She'd headed off into that field again after our celebrations had been finished, likely heading back home that way. I decided to look for her, starting in the field and working my way toward the woods nearby. I called out her name, hearing nothing in return but the rustling of feathers and cawing. The source of the cawing and ruffling flew towards me, aiming for my face, narrowly missing. I continued walking, startled to say the least. The crow came back as I called for Alice again, this time successfully clawing at my scalp, forcing me to tilt my head down to examine the wound. As I looked down, I saw Alice's phone; the battery had long since died, and rain from a couple days ago soaked it thoroughly so it would never work again. The crow landed in front of me, pecking near the discarded phone.

"It can't be."

It's starting to get dark, and the crow starts freaking out and bobbing its head towards the residences. I finally realize what it's trying to tell me, and I start running. I felt something small and hard dropping into my coat, and I'm starting to feel ill. Another crow just dropped dead right in front of me, chest split open like the others. I need to grab some marble from the statues, quickly, before they all vanish inside.

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