The bread scratched like sand in Brad’s mouth. He could taste the blood from where the hard crust had cut his gums.
He rubbed the morning dew from the bedroom window. A single crow perched on the corner post leading into the back pasture.
That first morning, there had been a hundred of them stretched out across the barbed wire, maybe a thousand.
It was a number too big to count, Brad knew that.
He swallowed a cheekful of the bread, and it tore at his throat like a barn cat.
It tasted sweet.
Outside, gravel popped under tires, and a car door slammed. Hard-soled shoes clopped onto the sidewalk.
Brad had made the bread last all week long. Lacy baked it special for supper on Saturday night, for his birthday.
The last hunk sat there on the kitchen counter under the window. Brad wondered if the crow could smell it. Maybe he should feed it to the bird.
He knew he wouldn’t, though.
Behind him, the front door eased open, and he could hear Brody take a breath.
“Dad, it’s time.”
Brad could smell the dry cleaning fluid. Could see the black suit even before he turned around.
His cheeks burned, wet. The last bit of bread dissolved, salty-sweet, in his mouth.
He knew the end of the bread would still be there on the counter when he got home that night.
And next week.
And in a year.
It was the last of Lacy’s bread.