I creep, feet silent, breath shallow. I slip among the shadows, feeling the darkness beckoning me. My eyes flash, my gaze darting between the trees, searching.
My ears catch a snatch of musical laughter. I turn abruptly, and pause for a moment. I squeeze my eyes closed, giving all sensation to my ears. I hear another sound, a voice, a human voice. The instant it registers, I am running.
I dash through the forest, my feet darting around rocks and fallen branches, not slowing, never slowing. My body is lithe, like a whip, as I weave through the night towards the voice. I can still hear only one. Once again, I shut my eyes, listening.
Even though the forest is full of trees, even though the forest rests at the peak of a sheer cliff, I hold my eyes closed. I feel the rush of the air around me as I run, not slowing, using only my ears to guide me. I can see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing but the sweet allure of the voice.
I am near.
I throw myself back against my momentum, instantly killing my suicidal dash through the black forest. I glance around sharply, surveying the small path I stood on. Nothing to note except the voice. The sound dances delicately among the leaves.
I leap, muscles contracting and releasing in nanoseconds, launching myself into the tree overhead as the voice’s owner comes into view. I settle neatly on my branch, cradled by the foliage as I peer at the girl below me.
She walks briskly, but without fear, along the edge of the forest, her small white hands brushing the trunks. Her voice is louder, much louder now. A cascade of sweet notes falls around her as she sings, illuminating the darkness around her. She continues her stroll under my tree. She pauses, her song reaching its zenith. She lets her real voice out now, and the soft sounds turn into a robust, shining thing overflowing with vitality.
I breathe slowly, but without restraint. My eyes are opened wide, ears intent. My hands slip from the branch and I am forced to brace myself against the trunk. I curse silently, mind reeling from my carelessness, my vulnerability.
Regaining my stance, I risk a peek at the girl with the golden voice. She is nearly out of sight, her head bobbing gently as she walks. I sigh, knowing that I would not chase. I sheath my blade.
There would be no blood tonight.