A mechanical crow perched on top of my head and began to peck at my brow. I tried to shoo it away but its feet were rooted to my scalp like strands of hair. My crown was no place for a mechanical bird, but no amount of shooing or shouting could dislodge it. It continued to peck away regardless, tearing at the skin of my brow and exposing the white bone of my throbbing skull beneath. It thrust its beak into my forehead with maddening regularity, all through the day, all through the night, until the cavern of my skull resounded like an exploding bomb, and my brain lay scrambled in a thousand mashed up pieces. I neither ate nor slept. I couldn't hold a single thought in my pulverised head for more than a second. My mind crawled from one moment to the next like a weary traveller. All manner of crazy ideas for removing the crow flitted back and forth, some gripping me with such manic intensity, that I frequently found myself pacing my room in a state of frenzied delirium. Every notion of escape only served to inspire the crow to a more concentrated series of pecks. I was fused to the bird, both physically and mentally.
Just as it seemed that the only way out lay at the bottom of a precipitous cliff, the crow's beak broke through my skull, into the cavity of my brain, releasing a torrent of light which swirled and eddied over my head, then down and around my body, bathing me in its blissful glow. Such a release! Such ecstasy! It streamed around me, filling my eyes, ears, nose and mouth, and flooding my being with a new found tenderness.
Slowly and softly, the light dissipated, and I found myself awake in a circular room, whose walls wavered, gradually taking on substantial form around me. There, on a chair, sitting with his legs crossed and his wingtips touching in front of his beak, was the crow, all flesh and shiny black feathers, grown to the size of a man.
- Welcome, he said, and smiled.
He invited me to sit down, then coughed, and began to ingratiate himself to me through a series of compliments regarding my ability to withstand the pecking assault of his former self. I was thoroughly non-plussed. He was, however, trained, he said, in Jungian psycho-analysis, and proceeded to offer me his services, for a modest fee, as an aid to my recovery from the trauma of the extended abuse. Naturally I declined, but then mysteriously found myself opening up to him, and quite enthusiastically and trustingly relating the contents of my dreams as if I had known him for years as my personal therapist.
One dream in particular piqued his curiosity. In it, I had the consciousness of grass, and felt myself grow, though my roots were insubstantial, as the summer rain drenched the ground I clung to and the yellow sun nourished each tender blade. He posited this as my awakening into transpersonal consciousness and attempted to configure the dream with his taking root on my head. What followed was an in depth explanation of the necessity of his prolonged and frenzied pecking, how it had been essential to my spiritual development, and should, indeed, be seen as a wonderful new birth. My fury at such self-justifying impertinence knew no limits. I stood up and attempted to make a storming exit, only to discover that the wall of the circular room, completely covered with red velvet drapes as it was, revealed no door or window from which to make my escape. I fumbled with the curtains, eventually uncovering a small portal, through which I crawled and fell, plunking down in a soft, grassy field, on a bright sunny day, with a flock of crows wheeling lazily overhead.
When I tried to move, I experienced an incredible tension in my joints. I looked up and saw that the crows were circling ever nearer. Now I was rooted to the spot and couldn't untangle myself from the patch of grass steadily growing around me. My fear of crows intensified as a sweeping veil of wings and feathers descended, submerging me in its slick, oily blackness, through which I swam, unsure whether I was remembering my past or projecting my fears of a nightmarish future.