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Red Sneakers and Crows

There is a boy that the crows follow.

He strides down the sidewalk, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his jeans. Eyes downcast, protected by glass, he walks without a destination in mind. He wears a pair of ratty red sneakers, his skin is sun-kissed, and across his face bloom constellations of freckles.

And everywhere he goes, there are crows.

They settle on the trees and the tops of buildings, beady eyes locked on this tall, spindly boy who walks everywhere heading to no-where. The crows trail feathers after him, and for minutes or hours, you can trace his path. Until the wind comes and steals away the feathers, rustling the crows perches and tempting the birds into flight once more.

They are an omen to everyone but the boy. He holds no fear of the birds who follow him. He hasn’t for a long time, for there is nothing they could take from him that he isn’t unwilling to offer them if they should ask.

He often walks alone, shoulders slumped like there’s too much weight dragging them down, but he never seems unhappy. The boy smiles and waves at everyone, warm and inviting, eyes shining brightly under his glasses. He’s more than happy to walk a spell with anyone, have a conversation, share a joke, or help anyone he can as he goes along. But after he will always continue forward. Always walking, eyes always wide and lively, shoulders always slumped in exhaustion.

Yet still, he is always moving, always followed by the crows that cause no harm, no mischief, despite the people’s fears. If the birds bother anyone, the boy will tell them to stop, and the birds will obey without hesitation. And the boy will apologise or laugh it off, and if there is nothing left for him in that space, in that moment, he will turn away and keep going.

Always moving forward. Always with his birds, from sidewalk to sidewalk, from town to town. No one knows who he is, but no one dares stop him from continuing on. The shadow of the murder of crows that follow him make sure of this.

There is a boy that the crows follow. He commands the birds who leave a winding trail of feathers in his wake. Who follow his every step seemingly without a reason. And he is not quiet or cruel, as bothered boys are want to be — he is just a wandering soul. Happy to talk, to help, and offer food or whistling tunes to his birds.

He is the boy that the crows follow. He wears red ratty sneakers and he is friendly with everyone he meets. And that is all he needs to be.

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