Throughout his life he cared for them, but they only stole his energy. He fed them daily but they starved his vitality.
He remembered running through the fields as a boy and they would fly up from the thick grasses, flock together, sometimes landing in the pines before swooping back to the ground.
There were so many then, dozens upon dozens, but the number dwindled slowly over the years. Nothing could stop the culling. One by one, they vanished until there was but a handful.
Now the man sat on his porch swing, thinking about his life, about what he’d done. He’d worked hard at his job and been rewarded with a lack of want. His wife had truly been his better half while she had lived and even now the memory of her burned vividly in his mind and warmed his heart. His three children had all grown well and become successful in their own ways. The old man was content, satisfied.
His last surviving crow perched on the arm of the swing. It hopped down into the man’s lap, nestled up against him. The old man felt the crow’s slow breathing, then he felt it cease. The man closed his eyes.
The last of his crows had departed.