A sliver in the sky perched high above and a shadow moves across as fleeting as a dove.

Only the shape wasn't so graceful--so light; rather, it was ragged and black as night. I looked up from my tower so long-fortified at the moon and despaired to know that it was by my own design-that I was shut up inside. That the ivy on the outside, with the thorns, grew up and between the bricks at my own command. What was the prison for? What had I constructed it for? Damned if I knew the answers. Opera music streamed through the night towards me, and a male voice so lovely as the night berated my ears with its sounds both dark-and light. Both damned and redeemed, echoing in one. Its shrill call rose up from the gloomy fens, and came over the moor but I had lost track of the local town so many years before. When had I come here? Why, and what for? Damned if I knew the answers, anymore. The constellations and the stars up in the sky, all twinkling and blinking as they regarded me so sly. A twinkle here and another there-just what were they scheming for so way up there? Another lonely night with nothing to do but survey the sky and wish for anything-even for answers why. But the wine was tasteless and the color of blood, and the air was chilled, then, the voice was gone. Too late, it seemed, to find the man who had produced such lovely harmonies. I closed the curtains and went to bed, counting on waking when the sun

would rise. But as sad as I seemed the chill was much worse; I tossed and I turned through the course of the night. And when I awoke the moon was at the zenith-and yet another shadow, another ragged bird flew across the blinding white. So much I wished to know-about that bird, to-night of all nights. What was there for me to do? I had no answers, not a clue. Damned if I even knew what to do. Lifting my long skirts, I decided to climb outside, and see if I could find that bird whose plumage was as oily as the night. To see if I could find that voice which had ceased. Tip-toeing through the woods, and the forests as they sprang up from the cracks in the ground and trees so heavy that the ground had begun to sag. I went through the marsh and the fens to find the voice, not noticing all how the darkness sprang to life. At last there was a clearing where the moonlight beat down-on a circular patch in a raised part of the dried ground. And in that patch of moonlight, perched the ruffled bird as it watched and stared at me, quite so intently. I approached with a hand out before a fog concealed all from my eyes-and then the bird cleared from itself before my eyes. It was no bird but a man, standing before me now. And I merely stared at him, curious at how-he had appeared before me. And so I circled him, inspecting, confused at how he had appeared in the night, when he merely watched me all the while

with a sly look glistening in his pale eyes. Amusement glittered there as I circled about and then before my eyes, a raven fluttered out. So desperately, I ran after it, wondering where it would go-and so I tripped and I trembled foraging through the mud as I made my way home. Was this like love eluding me? I couldn't tell why-but there was never so welcome a sight, as that raven perched on my windowsill as I saw my silhouetted tower in the night. It waited against the moonlight, its shadow so black, and the moon so white. I climbed up slowly to savor the sight-and the bird didn't move as I climbed up the side. It merely hovered for a moment and then flew off into the night-but I smiled for I knew that it would be back and how I knew, I couldn't say. But only the way it had looked at me, had it given its intentions away.

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