You are reading beneath an old oak tree when you hear it.
Trilling, somewhere between a bird cry and a cricket chirp, coming first from your left and then from behind you.
You lay your book aside and roll over onto your belly to get a look. You can see nothing ahead but long grass and the candy-floss sky of pink and blue.
It’s getting late. You’ll lose your reading light soon and you don’t want to find your way home in the dark.
But still, you pause.
The long grass sways in the breeze.
You see something. Something dark and shining. Is that the sleek side of an adder, waiting to strike?
More trills, closer. You should leave. You should run. But the sky is the colour of dreams and you have the echo of a story still singing in your mind and you find yourself pausing longer still.
They come slowly. Mice, fluffy-furred and fairy-winged, so small that when one flutters to you it can perch on your fingertip. It touches tiny hands to your thumb and tickles you with cobweb-thick whiskers.
Another perches on your knee. Two more lift the pages of your book then trill and flee when the pages fall.
As more and more of the creatures arrive, you decide that there are worse things than walking home in the dark.
Thanks so much to Rowyn for this wonderful microfiction commission!