Just how safe are our children?
|Word Count: 498 of 500 MAX
DAY 2 Prompt: It swooped down in the dead of night
The small farmhouse was dark and quiet. It made several slow passes around the home, listening for signs of life. Somewhere inside, the suckling noises of a sleeping baby reached its ears and it smiled.
It cautiously ran its hand across the front door. It felt through the wood, pushing its senses beyond to the other side. There it felt the cold dead of iron and jerked its hand back before it could be burned. Iron twisted and formed by man was an evil thing indeed, poison to it and its kind. There was only death that way.
The windows offered nothing better. Long stems laden with yellow flowers hung down to curtain the opening. The smell from them burned its nostrils and choked its throat. It had no choice but to back away angry and desperate. There were no cracks, no gaps in the walls to crawl through. The little house was sealed and protected from it. But then it flew up to the roof.
The last wisps of smoke curled from the small chimney and fading into the night. It leaned over and stuck its head into the darkness. The heat was distracting but tolerable. For a moment its thoughts strayed to home where the damp chill and never-ending night awaited. It pushed its senses downward, past the glowing pile of ash and into the home. Nothing blocked its passage. No poison or trap waited below.
It half crawled, half slid down. It unfolded its leathery wings as wide as it could to help balance and ease its decent. Its fingers itched from the heated walls, growing worse the lower it went. The pile of ash was hotter still and for a moment it was afraid. It stretched one leg out and then the other, its hooves making a muted click against the dirt floor. It folded its wings, stooped and entered the domain of man.
It wouldn’t risk its wings knocking something and waking the adults so it walked along the ground shuffling room to room until it found what it was hunting.
The baby didn’t wake as she was removed from her crib and gently placed on the floor. It draped one of the two sheets from the crib over the babe. It dug into the single pocket of its ragged breeches and produced a piece of wood, a gnarled rotting branch, near the size of the baby. Impossible but for the magic its kind wielded. It wrapped the wood in the remaining sheet, whispering unknown words as it did so before lowering it into the crib. A baby now stared back up at it.
It held the infant tight as it pulled both of them up and out the chimney. Only once did it fear the babe would wake, but she slept on. Safe from the human dwelling it flew fast and true towards the deep woods, towards home and the Queen of All that waited there for it and its prize.