The Girl from Hamelin

"But you're not a bird," she whispered.

The pale stranger shook his head and a smirk wrinkled the corners of his mouth. His fingers slipped into the periphery of her sight, gliding around the side of her face, and she held her breath...waiting...but his hand hovered a clock tick away from touch, passing over her lips and dropping under her chin where she lost sight of it again.

She wondered how his touch would feel. Cold like a talon? Soft like a feather? Could she feel his touch at all? She couldn't even feel her own body anymore. Touch slid from her senses in the velvet black like a silk scarf slipping from a shoulder. She let her breath sneak from her mouth.

She could still hear. The soft darkness wrapped her in its mute blanket, but she heard her breath whisper and rattle through her lips, and as it left she heard something else.

It started small, and she caught at it with her mind trying to figure out what it could be. A Japanese beetle the size of a car windshield in the next room? It grew a tiny bit louder and changed pitch. She closed her eyes trying to see the noise for what it was and smiled at the idea of a rusted hinge on a cathedral door, but she knew that wasn't it. Not here in the sea of black.

Humming.

She found herself humming and realized she was matching the noise with her own voice, but she didn't recognize the tune.

The sound came from in front of her, she thought. It was difficult to tell for certain because it rumbled and grated along in its simple melody like a rusting steam engine on twisted railroad tracks. She closed her eyes and let it rattle, her own voice smoothing it like a velvet cloth draped over forty year old barbed wire.

The End

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