Mercian pecked at the bottom of the cage, checking to see if his plan had worked. On the fourth peck, the bottom of the cage fell away from the sides with a final thud as it met the floor. Thank God!
Mercian was about to retreat from the broken cage when a hand swooped in from the darkness, wrapping itself around his muscular body and pinning his wings at his sides. Mercian grunted as the hand tightened around him, squeezing the air from his lungs.
“You’re a naughty little bird, aren’t ya?” said a man’s voice as the hand withdrew him from the cage.
The man was back-lit by the fire, his face shrouded in darkness, but the glow of his eyes was unmistakable. Mercian involuntarily ruffled his feathers as a chill raced down his back. The man turned toward the fire with a devious grin spread across his face. Mercian swallowed hard as his tiny heart raced in his chest.
“I wonder what crow tastes like, ” said the man. His laughter filled the small room, echoing as it taunted Mercian.
Mercian knew the man holding him was not himself. He knew there was only one explanation: the soul of Barthelow Mooreshire had entered this man’s body and was possessing him.
How did I let this happen? How could I have been so stupid? If only I’d ignored my hunger I wouldn’t be in this mess.
“Thought you’d just escort my soul straight into hell, did ya? Looks like yours’ll be the one needing an escort!”
Mercian closed his eyes and let his thoughts drift back to Ariana. If only I’d shown you my true self. You’re the love of my life, Ariana. I’d give anything for one last chance to tell you so.
Mercian snapped his eyes open as the temperature rose around him. His head was only six inches away from the flames. I’m dead. His heart twisted in his chest, matching the spiraling of the flames.
I’m dead. God, let the fire be quick!