Our Sparrow & Crowe series features stories about Dr. Xander Crowe and his faithful assistant Sparrow before, around, and after our main tale. These stories may contain clues as to our central mystery. Or they may not. We’ll never tell.
We hope you enjoy.
Sparrow & Crowe: Casting Fear
By David AccampoWhen the phone rings, it’s the intercom from the lobby.
“Hello?” says Tracy.
“Crowe,” says the voice from the other end.
“Please come up.”
Tracy Caldecott waits, pacing nervously in her living room. The dusty white light of Los Angeles creeps through the blinds on the windows. She wants to throw them open, let the daylight spill in, but she doesn’t dare. Henry doesn’t like the light. Tracy shivers at the thought.
The knock on the door startles her.
Tracy’s not sure what she expects when she opens the door, but it isn’t this. The man, Dr. Crowe, is short and rumpled, dressed in a big black overcoat, even though it’s only October in Los Angeles…still an arid 89 degrees. His hair, unwashed, erupts in wild tufts that intersect and tangle in an improbable explosion. His face is put together wrong…all odd angles, uneven, even the reedy goatee seems like it might be held on with spirit gum, a school play that never ended.
“Ms. Caldecott,” he says, coughing as though it’s the first time he’s spoken all day. His voice is strained, “You contacted my associate.”
“Yes. Ms. Sparrow.”
“Just Sparrow. Her Christian name is something altogether routine and not worthwhile. Sparrow’s the moniker upon which she insists, and who am I to judge? Poke fun at, yes, but that’s another story altogether. Ask her about the Michaelson affair—”
“Um, Mr. Crowe—“
“Doctor. She didn’t give you my credentials?”
“Oh, no, I’m sure she did, I’m sorry I just—”
He silences Tracy with a wave of his hand. It is at this point she notices he is wearing a single black glove on his other hand. He seems to favor it, holding it close to his body. She thinks it must be prosthetic. His voice, this time, is sharp. “Where is it?”