Three Crows

There were three crows, sat on different branches in the same tree. I lay on the soft grass beneath, staring up as the crows stared down.

The first crow, the one I was trying to reach when I fell, dropped without grace to the ground beside me. Its beak chaffed and chattered, snickered close in my ear as it told me the things it had seen that day. Who came, who went. What terrible thoughts they carried, how they heaved out breaths so unlike a bird’s fluttering spasm. It flew away, croaking wordless thoughts into the sky.

The second crow landed nearby, a thud followed by uncertain hops to reach me. I was still, my eyes fixed on nowhere. My lips unreadable. It pecked the ground by my head, ruffled its feathers out, told me in a whisper what it knew. Details, it said, these were the important parts of any story. They clashed with the first crow’s account. They were needle-sharp. They pushed through my skin. It hopped around to the other side of the tree, hunting.

The third crow took flight, and circled in the blue-white sky above me before landing feather-light on my chest. It looked me in the eye, cocked its head, stroked its beak on its wing. It preened. The third crow was the Devil, and the story it told me was everything I wanted to hear. I would not move until it left me. I would not run. I had my truth.

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