It's also the first in a future/planned collection of short stories, called 'Unusual Heroes'.
Joe Crow has always suited his nick-name. Even as a new born, he was noticeably different to the rest of his family; a corvid fledgling amongst white doves. His hair, thick and downy-soft, was like obsidian coloured velvet, and his skin rich in shadowed tones, turning espresso-black when exposed to the sun.
Watchful eyes, of other-worldly blue, missed nothing. If something caught his attention, that intelligent gaze would narrow and focus. Whether on a young wizard, unafraid of forbidden forests, or on an immortal time lord, bravely facing the inky depths of an infinite universe, Joe Crow would become that person. He had the books, the films, the costumes and merchandise. His imagination was a living thing, and his ability to slip into the minds of different characters both bemused and delighted those around him, even as he filled his bedroom with carefully hoarded memorabilia.
However, it wasn’t just his mania for collecting, his watchfulness, or his ability to mimic which marked him as different. It was his determination. Nothing stood in Joe Crow’s way for long. He could outwit and outmanoeuvre anyone who thought they knew what was best for him. He soared over obstacles with accomplished ease.
Not for him an ordinary life or humdrum career.
In his early teens, he favoured clothes in shades of charcoal and tar. Later still, he wrapped himself in leather, with only the shimmer of silver buckles to break its molasses sheen. His once carefully trimmed hair grew wild; an untamed plumage that tumbled over his brow any-which-way it pleased, and feathered his cheeks and jaw.
His personality, which some called obsessive, tunnelled inwards, away from the visual stimuli of television and cinema, and away from his family and friends. Instead, the sonic delights of music were his new domain.
Haunting the darkened corners of city clubs, he would listen to live bands for hours. He learned to play the guitar… and found the passion he’d been born for.
Night-time quickly became his life, bringing with it crowds of people. They flocked to hear him, responding to his raucous call and bass driven melodies. They danced and drank, and roared their approval at each new song.
But Joe Crow barely seemed to notice. His fame had spread, and others had joined him. He was part of a band. Their audiences and venues grew bigger, but his focus remained absolute—on his guitar. It was as if nothing could compare to the music pouring from his soul.
It was as if his dreams had consumed him whole.
So if you’re a fan, spare a moment to think of the man behind the name. Next time you see him, hope that his cleverness is still a blessing and not a curse.
And should you, after the performance, swear you can hear the sound of a bird’s cry, shrieking into the night, or spy a flurry of jet-black feathers, floating from the sky, please don’t be alarmed.
This is how legends begin…