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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

After Midnight

The night was warm and sultry. Moist, from the cloudburst that swept through earlier. Now moonlight shimmered on the water's surface. Crickets chirped. Frogs sang, their haruumphing overlapping so it was a steady hum.

She slapped at a mosquito so hard the sting brought a tear to her eye.

"Shh!"

"I didn't say anything," she whispered, rubbing her skin where it still tingled. She turned and scowled at him but he was too busy scanning the treeline to notice. Perched on a wooden picnic tabletop beneath the low-hanging branches of an enormous maple tree they were nearly obscure. Or so they hoped. "And don't 'shh!' me."

"Hush, then," he hissed. "It's almost time." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her tight against his side. When he spoke his lips were so close she felt his warm breath on her cheek. "Soon...it'll be soon. I know it."

Her eyes had become accustomed to the night. She reluctantly pulled her attention from the sight of his rugged good looks and focused on the meadow. A trail ran up the hillside, across the clearing and into the forest. She doubted the success of their mission but the adventure was enough to keep her from slapping the pesky mosquito again. It had found the only patch of unprotected skin on her ankle and seemed hellbent on biting her. Oh well, one small bite...what can it hurt?

"How do you know?"

He chuckled, softly. "I know."

"You're sure?"

"Mmm hmm." His voice was so low it was hardly loud enough to be heard above the rustle of the leaves that sheltered them. She felt it, though. Every word, rumbling from his body to hers, sending shivers of anticipation up her spine. Oh yes, she heard him. Loud and clear. "Two nights in a row. I thought the first one was luck. The second, a fluke. And tonight will be--"

Movement at the far edge of the path halted conversation. They stared as a gray fox stepped out of the shadows. It stood, sniffed the air, then walked out onto the trail. Surrounded by tall grass it must have felt secure because its stroll was casual, unhurried. They sat, transfixed, as the wild creature crossed the large meadow. Finally, with a last wave of its bushy tail, the fox melted into the shadows.

Together they exhaled. Neither had been aware they held their breath.

"Did you see it?"

She nodded, shaking her head in amazement. For once, words failed her.

"I told you it would come." Grinning, he squeezed her shoulder. "Three nights in a row! It's--"

"Magic," she sighed.

4 comments:

Melissa said...

Very nice, Sarita!!!

Dru said...

beautiful!

Susan said...

I love Wednesdays. And its so cool you see foxes where you live. The only foxes we see are coats and thats just plain sad.

Amy said...

You have a fox! Amazing.