Amongst Towers of Steel and Stone.
I am standing in the heart of the city. It is evening, with the hellish globe just having descended so I may walk unscathed. There are crowds here; residents not of the dark, as I have told of previously, but of normality and sanity.
My beast lashes out. It wants to grab and feed, but my madness has given me advantage against its whims. I lock it down back in its cage and continue to watch from the shadows.
A nice constable comes over and asks if I'm all right? I smile at him and see into him, and he walks away convinced that he met no one. My beast rages at me. Demands to know why I did not take which was mine by right of strength? I smile inside and tell the poor beast that sometimes strength is knowing when to be weak. It rails again demanding to know the reason, so I look over to the opera house; painted ladies and posh gentlemen out front. A string quartet is playing something lovely as the men in black, and the women in their peacock hues, laugh and talk before the house opens.
The beast growls and asks why is that important? So I look again at one particular man surrounded by his own clutch of peacocks. The beast stares, but does not see through the Dark One's false face. It does not fully understand the value of being a staked goat to lure the leopard. I sigh and ignore its whinging and protestations.
The house opens and the show is about to start. I swiftly dart across the street and ascend the building, calling upon my beast's strength and speed to do so unnoticed. Once upon the roof I slip inside to my favourite spot amongst the rafters so that I have a clear view of the stage. The opening strains of Mozart fill the air and the appearance of Prince Tamino marks the start. I give a happy sigh and settle back to enjoy the performance.
The first act is completed and the audience is making their way to the lobby, when I notice I am not alone in my lofty perch. The Dark One is crouched in a shadow not more than twenty feet from me. I am amazed I did not hear his approach or see his presence looming upon my mouse hole. Fortunately he has not noticed me, for I have been as still as the dead.
He is peering down into the private boxes. From our lofty perch above the house lights we can easily see but not be seen. It is why I chose this location for my exclusive seating. In a moment he moves forward, quiet as a spirit, lethal as a curse. I don't understand why I follow, but I feel I must. Stealing after him on my little field mouse paws. My beast is still. Even it is smart enough to know when to stay quiet when a raptor is soaring close.
The Dark One is above one particular box's balcony then drops like a stone to visit the occupants. I watch in fascination as he proceeds to quickly and efficiently disable the meat that attempts to stand before him. He then speaks to a quivering bowl of pudding about what he will do to him if he continues on his path, then spinning a line like an unholy spider launches himself to return to the rafters.
He lands next to me, looks over and asks me my business in voice full of restrained anger.
To see the performance, I reply in my tiny mouse squeaks.
He nods, and asks if I'm enjoying it?
I nod and tell him very much sir.
With a grunt he moves off muttering, that I should have bought a ticket, as this performance supports charity.
I whisper that next time I will, and he responds with, I'll be checking that you do, before slipping into the darkness.
The performance continues and I enjoy it immensely. When Tamino and Pamina are reunited I can not help but smile and I join in the applause from below. Exiting the same way that I entered I make my way to the street and prepare to make my way home.