By Melissa L. Webb
The crow sat in the tree, the branch swaying under him in the wind. Tilting his head from side to side, he studied the building in front of him.
The school lay quiet around him. Its occupants hidden inside, going about their daily routine as they eagerly awaited the next bell to ring.
Fluffing his wings against the bitter chill, trying to warm the blood in his veins, the bird’s gaze never left the classroom door.
The bell rang, echoing down the corridors, breaking the silence that wove around the school. The crow sat up straight, eyes shining like glass in the sunlight, as he watched the students pour out the door.
A girl with a long black braid appeared in the doorway. Pulling her jacket tighter against her body she stepped into the chilly corridor. The crow leaned forward on his branch, letting his gaze drift over her as she stood back awaited the flood of students to lessen.
The child moved gracefully through the remaining students, gliding past them quietly; a shadow slipping through the night. She stepped off the cement and onto the grass, heading past the tree on her way to freedom.
The crow called down to her, his caw harsh in the crisp afternoon air.
The girl glanced up; bright green eyes locking onto dark obsidian pools.
Tilting his head, the crow waited, wondering what the girl would do.
The child’s eyes lingered a moment longer, then with a shrug she turned, heading away from the school.
Watching her go before taking flight from his perch, the crow soared over the roof of the school, landing in the back parking lot. Glancing quickly around, he took a few hops towards a car.
The air shimmered and got thicker, extending up from the ground. Suddenly, a man stood where the crow had been. Stepping forward he opened the car door. Sliding into the driver’s seat, he studied the sky above him. His dark eyes watched, as the light faded from it.
The time was almost here.
They needed the girl. There was no denying that. Sighing, he slammed the car door. Next time he would have to do more than just observe the child.