One thing puzzled him. His feet were bare. He felt sure he would have worn shoes in a place like this, with the wind continuously whipping up rust-colored leaves and the tarmac scattered with pieces of broken glass.
"Why are they so shiny?" his sister asked. She was five and her name was Courtney. Asking stupid questions was her number one occupation.
"Because their mommies always made them wash behind their ears," Aidan replied. He thought it odd, but quite peaceful that their parents were nowhere in sight. A little way off, some car wreck was burning. Aidan wanted to look at it. Later. Before their mother came back. She always made them turn the other way if there was an accident.
"I think they're scary," said Courtney.
"They're fine," said Aidan. "They're very smart and they live a long time and sometimes people tame them. The Indians believe they are very important."
"Why?" Courtney asked.
"Next time I see an Indian, I'll ask him. The only reason most people don't like them is because they eat carrion."
Aidan sighed. "How must I know? Some junk I think... Or rotten meat." He peered at them. There were five crows. They pecked at something on the road.
"Why are they so close?"
She did have a point there. Most wild birds flew away when you walked up to them, but not these ones. They just kept working their beaks as if the two children weren't even there.
"I dunno," said Aidan.
"Palo says crows eat people's eyes," Courtney said. "Can you see what these ones are eating?"
"Somebody's eyes," said Aidan. He leaned forward. It was true. The orb, tattered with blood, was the size of a marble. The size of a little girl's thumb scrunched up and with the bone sticking out. Almost as big as a nine-year-old boy's big toe sticking out of his Ben-10 sock.
He walked. Closer and closer. Shiny black crow feathers passed through the soles of his feet, but he never felt them.