may give us pause
The boy dreams of the night sky.
It is vast, and it is dark, and the world spins out around him minuscule and sharply detailed: The towns and the fields and the living things going about their business like little insects along well-trodden paths. The desolate areas where humans cannot go--the wilds where magics dance, the places where the world shapes itself in the dark--are bright and tempting in his peripheral vision. He wants to see everything, know everything, the human and inhuman. He wants to hold it in his hands, pull it apart to see its workings and put it together again neatly as he can. He feels almost as if he has the power to do it.
He hears a voice almost like his own but not his own laughing. Perhaps it should be frightening, but for some reason it isn't.
He dips in freefall, staring up at the blue-violet dot-studded blanket of the sky. It is empty and bottomless, and he reaches toward it as his legs dangle upwards. His hair ruffles about his face, and black feathers spiral up above him as if sloughing off of his body.
When he laughs, laughs, laughs for the sheer delight of it his voice sounds like a crow cawing.
Samantha wakes dull-headed in the night and looks up from her bed. The window is open--it's the night's chill that woke her, she thinks, until her vision clears enough to see the silhouette of her brother perched in one side of the open sill.
She rubs at her eyes with tiny hands, a guileless girl not yet six years old, and calls out sleepily: "Lawrence, what is it?"
When he turns, she can't see his face, but knows that he's smiling by the bend in his cheek.
"It's nothing. Go back to bed."