One hundred and nineteen years later
Five dark, chilly days into November and as many since theyd come and burned Feathers, Wesley woke abruptly in the middle of the night to find his deceased pet perched on the windowsill beside his bed, watching him.
He didnt need the bitter clutch of the icy air to tell him he wasnt dreaming. The clock had gone seventeen soft ticks past five-eleven in the morning and it was still dark in his tiny room, but the scene was as real as the nightmares that patrolled the streets and as stark as innocence lost.
Wesley hadnt been able to protect him.
No animals, one of the rough men in dark cloaks reminded harshly during the troops nightly search of the village. He grabbed Feathers and held him carelessly upside-down by one lean leg, the birds distressed squawks jarring in the horrified silence of the kitchen. Wesley opened his mouth to protest, but his mothers fingers dug into his shoulder.