City Park...New Orleans ©Melinda VanLone


Marcie frowned at Diego as they walked. He’d completely interrupted her thought. “What?”

“Nevermore.” He offered her a crooked grin. “Quoth the raven, and all that.”

She grabbed his hand and pulled him to a stop. “Have you heard anything I’ve been saying? Anything at all?”

“You’ve been ranting for almost an hour. I listened to every word, I swear.”

“They why are you suddenly quoting Poe?”

Diego pointed up. “Haven’t you noticed? He’s been following us. I think he likes the sound of your voice.”

She looked up and saw the bird, high above them. It didn’t move, or make a sound.

“Creepy.” A chill trickled down her back. “I don’t think it’s a he, though. I think it’s a she.”

“Lenore?” Diego nudged her, laughing. “I suppose it could be.”

Marcie pushed him back. “I’m serious. She looks hungry, too.”

Marcie jumped as a soft voice behind them sent her heart into overload. “She is. She’s very, very hungry. It’s been a long time since she’s feasted.”

They turned to see a woman standing in the path behind them. Her long black hair blended into a black cloak which draped from her shoulders to the ground. Her black eyes sparkled as though lit by a private, internal sun.

The woman extended a hand, her long elegant fingers offering to swallow theirs. “Come. Join us.”

Marcie backed away from the hand as if it were on fire. Her heart rushed blood through her ears making it difficult to hear.

“Diego, come on!” She screamed, but Diego didn’t turn. He inched toward the woman as if mesmerized.

“Diego!” Marcie tugged at his arm but he shrugged her off.

He placed his hand on top of the woman’s as if he were her lover. The woman placed her other hand on top of his. Her eyes flashed. Marcie blinked at the sudden bright light on an otherwise grey day.

When she opened her eyes, Diego was gone.

A raven now perched on the woman’s hand. She cooed at it, then lifted her hand to the sky. The bird flew up to the top branch to join the other.

“Who are you?” Marcie could barely whisper the word, her throat was so constricted.

“My name is Lenore.” The woman lifted her lips into a wide smile that never reached her eyes.