The ritual

By the side of the well they met by moonlight. In went the frogs, the yellow daisies and cinnamon sticks; round they processed, against sense but in line with expectation, ears pricked for the hollow drop of horseshoe on cracked soil.

He did not come. They waited until the stars were spots on their retinas, until the pink brush of dawn had washed the midnight from flimsy clouds, until the flurries of bats ceded the sky to flutters of birds, until the wisteria shone with silver dew. He did not come.

But he watched them from the only unlit corner.

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