Corvus & Lavinia Edwards are a pair of dangerous children and first time authors living outside the conurbation of London. Not far from a wood which may or may not have owls, but definitely has foxes and mires. E. M. Edwards is their much less dangerous parent. You can find his website here: http://www.emedwards.net.
The White Owl and Other Stories, from which these selections are taken, is available at Wolfhead Press.
Selections from The White Owl and Other Stories
Corvus & Lavinia Edwards with E.M. Edwards
If you come over you'll ﬁnd we're ﬁerce friends. Like bottles and knives we're eminently useful but have sharp edges. Not that the bindings which we make are brittle, they are elastic.
We clutch tight and don't let go. Shush. Don't take alarum. We're only playing Vampire Squids. That's why we turned oﬀ the lights. There isn't any down there in the depths.
So deep, that only robot submarines go. Humans are weak, they break easily and get bubbles in the blood. Not us. We're ﬁerce. We are Vampire Squids, and we're at home in the dark and in the ﬁerce pressure.
No you can't have a torch. They're just for us. For signaling each other and confusing our prey. They, the prey, don't get torches either. But then you and they, are both the same.
Don't fret. We'll protect you. From the other Vampire Squid. They'll not reach you. We'll get to you ﬁrst. Never mind those sounds, that's just us, circling in the dark.
See our ﬂashes? We'll soon have you in our grip again. And you'll be safe.
Have you seen our necklaces? They are made from real human teeth. We make them ourselves, not the teeth, but the necklaces. Yes, they are small, but humans are small too, at least when they are children.
Bones are white. Not as white as teeth but almost as smooth. It's true, some teeth are harder to extract than others. They can be difficult to get out of the jaws. We ﬁnd them in skulls which we ﬁnd, somewhere. Have you been downstairs yet? Seen our workshop?
Lots of old rusty tools and some odd stains on the ﬂoor. Very curious.
Don't mind them though, or the coppery smell. Old tools do a lot of rusting. We tried scrubbing away the stains but it didn't work. They just grew larger.
Not like us, we're still small. So are you, but at least you have all your teeth. You haven't lost any yet. We like your smile, it is ﬁne and white if a little crooked at the corners.
Come down with us, and we'll prove to you we're not lying. The teeth are real, human teeth. You'll see a bucket we keep that is full of them. You have to lean in close, closer.
There. We have more teeth now with which to make necklaces. Not all teeth are large, some are small like children.
In the Bronze Age, axe-heads were sharper. This one is dull. But it is old. We dug it up in our garden. It's heavy and here's the socket where it once ﬁtted onto a stick.
It's three thousand, three thousand and ﬁve hundred years old, we're certain of that. We've had it tested by the man at the museum. He wanted to keep it.
They fall oﬀ in ﬁelds and rivers, he says, or when there's been a battle.
Do you like battles? We're having one now. That's why we couldn't part with it.
Hush. Don't worry, it's only pretend. That's pretend blood coming out of your leg – but we know it feels real. Things felt real in the Bronze Age.
This one is made of stone, it's from before. People were stupid then, like you are. They hadn't ﬁgured out how to make bronze and have proper battles.
See how it has a smooth pointed end and a smooth round one? It's not sharp like the axe-head from the Bronze Age, but it ﬁts just right in your hand.
It has a heft to it. And weight, like a stone. And it stops the screaming.
"Be They Rook Raven: A Cautionary Afterword"
Be they rook raven,
Crow or butcher-bird, Sea-eagle, hornbill,
Or the Great Macaw Remember O child,
That once all birds