Potato pancakes, tomato soup, sweetbread—Jamie’s favourites. You set the table for two and you take your seat. You hold out hope that Jamie will come, right up until you hear the wings beating.
The first time it came, it flew in through the kitchen window. The next, it strutted in through the garage. You considered locking the house up, but you’d never.
Jamie needs a way in.
This time, it slips in through the open skylight and alights opposite you at the table. It screeches once. It tears strips off the pancakes, stands in the soup, and shits a white-black streak onto the bread. Its eyes like black beads reflect your kitchen, but warped, dirtied—your own face appears drowned in tar.
You don’t look away. You invite the tar onto your cheeks, into your lungs, and throughout your veins. You shiver at the thought of thick black blood clogging your heart.
It screeches again, knocks the bowl off the table, and, with a flapping of its wings, darts forward. The tip of its beak catches the tender skin of your cheek. Then it’s gone, back out through the skylight.
You put a hand to the cut. Your breath catches in your throat. A blush warms you.
It’s a lie that you set the table for Jamie anymore. You set it for the crow.
Aleks Wittkamp writes when he writes, and he doesn’t write when he doesn’t write. It would be silly to write when he doesn’t. He lives his unsilly life in Toronto.
photo by Karen Sewell (via unsplash) and Nika Akin (via pixabay)