It was almost time. He stood by the lake in the velvet night
and knew. Katydids quarreled in ancient trees. Crickets
predictably expressed dissent. A chorus of frogs called
loudly for love. Softly, near the bole of a moon-shadowed beech,
a rustle in last year’s leaves revealed the presence of a mouse.
He gazed across the water. Centered there and rippling
in the wind’s gentle wake, the crescent moon rode high,
a blood-orange promise. Caught on the hook of this
macabre reflection, his eye nearly missed the predator’s
approach. Seeing it, knowing it was there, he still heard
not a sound. On wide, hushed wings the great bird
drew close. Beneath the beech tree, unaware of
doom’s arrival, the mouse carried on its small affairs.
A dive, a flurry, a mortal shriek; the owl arose with
dripping talons. Surely, he thought, it is a sign.
A sudden sharp rap whipped his gaze to the window.
There in the cold leered an evil face. Despite the bright fire
his heart became ice. The book fell to the floor.
Caryl Ulrich received a B.A. from Indiana University, and an M.Ed. from William Carey University. For many years Caryl was a teacher (high school French, Chemistry, Physics, Marine Science, Biology & other sciences) and education consultant. Caryl suffered a disabling injury and is no longer in the classroom. Caryl writse for children and adults. Prior to Caryl’s years as a teacher Caryl had several works published.