Clayton stopped as he stepped past the threshold, staring silently at me as I stared back. I had been mulling over the crow’s – my words over the past hour, before Clayton came back with an armful of vegetables.

He broke the silence and settled the raw vegetables on the small counter space by the sink. The tap turned on and he started to wash them.

“…How’d you sleep last night?” he said, at length.

“Fine,” I said. I usually slept in the barn; he knew.

“Bad dream or somethin’?” he grunted awkwardly. I could tell he wasn’t used to paternal instinct.

I shook my head. More silence. I stood up, scooted my chair back against the old wood of the floor, and swung out of the cheap screen door. Clayton didn’t object.

Back outside the crow was watching me on a tree branch. I looked at it for a second, then resumed walking.

Can’t ignore me, it cawed.

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