This is a night for madness. Let all the wicked things awaken.
I squint at the sunset, and a fat bead of sweat drips onto the letter I clench in my fist. The blackbirds clamber up and down the sweaty branches of a peony tree, shrieking their rage. The bats stir in the highest branches, gnashing their nightmarish teeth and screeching against a backdrop of a bloody sunset. My kingdom is stirring, casting off the sunset like a shirt that doesn’t fit. Bring me the dark, says my restless kingdom. The darkness fits, it says. The darkness is mine.
The bats and blackbirds call out for the night, their whole bodies hungry for it. The peony tree trembles with the weight of their madness, and I creep forward to press my fingertips against the chalky black bark. Their madness claws at my bones, rattling them with a fevered fist, and if the blackbirds screech any louder they will shatter me where I stand. I lean against the tree and smile because I like the idea. My bones will burst out of my skin, tumble across the dirt red meadow, and I will be nothing more than a feast for the bats. Something unholy shrieks through the woods, and I smile again in the shadow of the evening tree.
"Strangers are coming. They’re coming," the blackbirds scream.
"Strangers, strangers, come to play," screech the bats.
The night time orchestra has begun, and tonight, nothing in the world could stop the dark.