Perched on the branch of a bare deciduous tree sang a young nightingale, his melodious voice called out for companionship. Tweet, tweet, tweet the lonely bird went, his song drifting across the starless night sky, filtering through the northward bound woods, and passed snow covered valleys beyond, yet only the ears of a petite five year old were awakened to his call. He waited for a reply from a voice it so often heard, and every minute that he did not, the bird sank deeper into a melancholy mood.

The willow's wispy branches smacked against the opaque glass, its unsettling hisses driving the young girl further into her nightmares. Amelia tossed and turned on her bed, squinting her eyes close in denial. Blobs of colour filled the vision of her inner eye, irregular blurred shapes that shadowed a scene that she had but saw earlier that day. It shook her to the core. Yet, as the bird sang on, she longed to reply, to say cooingly, "here I am, here I am, my dearest nightingale. Here I am." But alas, she did not stir, in fear that she might wake her brother if she did. Try as she might, she could not bring herself to disrupt her twin's dream, even if at her own heart's expense. She sobbed. A burning sting lingered in her mouth as tears slowly trickled down her cheeks. Her throat itched to sing along with the bird, her heart ached because she could not.

For the past month, every night she had patiently waited for her nightingale friend, and every night he had always came. She would sit on the balcony floor and clap whenever the bird attempted a shrill of the sweetest kind, excited as he was. It would always be such joy, such contentment to sit and listen to his mystical voice that would mesmerize her to no end. At times, when she was glowing in delight, she would try a little note herself, accompanied by her friend's beautiful voice. She was nothing when compared, but it was moments like these that made the child forget to care of what she thought of herself, to toss her suffocating self-consciousness into the wind and not be bothered by the events of the day. It had been what she looked forward to everyday, those short, comforting moments at the darkest point of the night. The moon would hang high above, casting them in a sort of ethereal glow as the toddler's legs would dangle over the edge of the balcony ledge, swinging back and forth aimless motion.

Tweet, tweet, the bird tried calling out as a last attempt. He tried a higher pitch than he had ever had, hoping to catch the attention of his companion or to at least draw her out. Hesitantly her eyelids flicked open, but other than the slight shake of her head, she moved naught. She couldn't blink. She didn't dare to breathe. Yet unsatisfied, the nightingale jumped onto the balcony and begun pecking at the glass barrier that barred them.

"Shoo, shoo," she murmured, fearing her friend would injure his beak as well as dreading he brother's awakening. She spared a quick glace at the sleeping form in the other bed, straining her ears to the sound of his snoring. His breathing was static, his chest rising and falling in accordance to his little huffs. There was an air of peacefulness hovering over him, and for some reason it made her clenched her small fingers in a tight fist, crumpling her nightgown in the process, as she silently prayed that she would have enough self-control to stay unmovable beneath the covers. And as she watched as her beloved companion chirped a sorrowful note before he flew off, another sob escaped her.

It took all her will not to unlock the door. That, and the fear of the harm she had seen her brother's slingshot do to its victims.

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