Ragan rocked on the old porch pondering his nightmares from the night before. He had hoped the sunrise would have calmed the fearful feeling within him, but so far the morning dawn had only served to make his mood darker still. Some men had normal grandmothers. Ones that baked them cookies and made sure that their bootlaces were tied. They were love and perfection personified. They had kind winkled hands, happy smiles on their faces, and short gray hair that was always well kept. He wasn’t one of those men. His Grandmother was far from the welcoming stereotype. He wondered at the reasons fate would bring her to his memory now, of all times. When he was in later life and far to old to need the influence of any kind of motherly figure. Not that his grandmother had been the mothering type. He was happy with his job. Perhaps he was alone but that didn’t bother him either. He was just fine. He had the boys at the old club where he went golfing every Friday. He was perfectly content to lay all memories of that old witch in the past where they belonged. He shuttered as flashes of his dream came to him, and a picture of the hideous woman he was forced to spend a week of every summer with filled his mind.
She had knarled hands with huge lumps for knuckles–hard, bony, fierce hands that always had something or the other underneath the fingernails. His grandmother had been an avid gardener, but sometimes he could swear that she had dried blood beneath those fingernails. He reminded himself that those were childhood suspicions. Something he had merely dreamed up in a suspicious fit of horror late one night in that atrocious country cabin that hardly held together anymore. Perhaps the fear of the roof falling in on him had permanently damaged his tender childhood soul. He liked that lie. It was a good one. The memory of her visage loomed before him meancing, she had thin gray hair. Oh, how it had reminded him of cobwebs and shadows. It was stringy with grease and sometimes food. It lay plastered onto her skull and dangled dangerously close to the floor. Ragan had loathed it when his grandmother came close enough to let her straggly hair brush against him. Her face, oh mercy, her face was the most hideous thing he had ever seen. It was lined deep with wrinkles that seemed cavernous to his young mind. Like her face had been taken between two large hands and crunched like a piece of paper. Her nose was too small and her lips too large. When she smiled one had a feeling that she would be able to eat you if she opened wide enough. Then he heard her voice just as he had heard it in the dream: Count the crows, my boy, count the crows.