Flash Fiction: Night Owl (182 words)

It was nearly midnight before the musicians started laying down Lea’s favorite spell. The lamps had burned down to a flickering mimicry of yellow sunset, and the drums began to tap the air. They thudded and hummed, slow, steady, dragging out for a long moment while she began to grin and her heart seemed to steady itself against the beat. Then the guitars climbed on top, one high, one low, whirling like things freshly taught to fly, and she forgot how to keep her heels on the floor, or her hands at her sides, or her feet still.

In the shadows and streaks of the lamps, in the crowded room half underground, wrapped in the music, she danced along with everyone else, wordless except for the flash of a smile at whoever met her eye.

The quiet magic twisted in the rhythm and lyric, familiar, invisible, almost named. Draped over her skin, it sloughed exhaustion from her bones, hollowed her and hallowed her. It left her breathless, sweating under the weight of new, precious wings in a silence that wasn’t quite quiet.

 

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