The night is warm, the moon a ferocious bright white. Its reflection floats, spilling crimson on the river snaking through the glade.

Insects are falling, falling from the sky, from their perches on tree bark. Their dry exoskeletons hit the forest floor crisply, kik kik kik.

Birds are falling, snatched from the blackness above, wings pinned shut. They land amongst the unmoving legs, feelers, and faceted eyes of their prey.

A wolf raises its muzzle to the moon and howls in distress, but its cry is cut short in steely abruptness, giving way to muffled gurgles. The sound of wolf blood frothing from its throat reaches its ears, and it slumps, head coming to a rest in the blood pooling around its paws.

The wizened black branches nod and dance serenely, and the leaves rustle rhythmically to the night's blood-music. They are impassive, calmly accepting.

The river glows stark in the wash of moonlight, and the wind ruffles the cool feathers littering the soil. The forest sighs in satisfaction.

A scarlet blaze streaks across the moon's face momentarily, and the ghost of its smile lingers; the ringing of bells echoing softly in the chill air.

Then the leaf blades flesh themselves out in silent pleasure, sloughing off intangible skins that hide their new sheen, while the branches between them crackle with fresh energy. Below, a night worm creeps, pushing a path through the dead. Its pale legs flow with cold grace. And it rears up and smothers the first cricket with its sticky saliva, then drapes its feather softness lovingly upon the petrified angles of the inert body.

It tears a chunk from the cricket's head, and begins to feed.

Renewal has come.

A/N: Don't kill me. I know I haven't been here for ages and that wasn't very good. -sheepish grin- Well, I'm trying! Btw the "night worm" was inspired by the velvet worm (peripatus). It's a velvety caterpillar-like worm with two antennae-things that spew glue onto prey.