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It was a warm summer night. No one could see the stars in Venice because of the street lights, but the moon still glowed. Angela was having trouble sleeping. Just as Angela thought she would never get any sleep, she began to hear music. It started out very faint, but soon began to grow. Angela had no idea where the sweet music was coming from… but she was going to find out. She quickly put on her white dress that was hanging on a nearby chair, tied her sandals, bolted down the stairs, and out the door.
She only had to run for a little while before she reached the edge of San Marco square. She stopped her lightning fast pace and saw the bright colorful lights that shined between the buildings. The music, it was no longer soft but was blaring loudly and yet beautifully. Angela began to walk slowly and quietly towards the music and into the light. She was stunned with amazement. She saw hundreds of people, all dressed in Renaissance clothing and colorful masks. She saw not just humans, but creatures that seemed to have leapt out of someone’s imagination. Giant birds wearing plumed hats and long coats. Dogs and cats as big as men, dancing in peacoats and masks. Angela could feel her jaw slip open. No sooner could Angela absorb the fantasy she stepped into than a man swung his arm around her and started pushing her towards a crowd of men and creatures.
“Look at the state of this girl. We must get her a mask and some wine.” The man said in his slightly slurred speech. He was clearly drunk.
“Petruchio! Adriana! Hiratio! Don’t you agree? She’s so pale and sickly looking. Don’t worry darling, a couple glasses of wine and a dance with me and you’ll have the color back in your cheeks.”
Angela tried to push away. She had a feeling that she wouldn’t like to dance with the man. Thankfully, his three friends that he was calling to came over to calm him down.
“My friend, you have had too much to drink. Perhaps you should sit down.” said one of the members of the group.
The woman of the group, who by default must have been Adriana, laughed, “Petruchio, we should make it our mission tonight to keep Cilectio away from this poor girl.”
Angela stared at Petruchio with fear and wonder, for you see, Petruchio was a raven. He was as tall as a man with boots that only came half way up his legs so you could still see the upper half of his legs. He was also wearing a peacoat along with a velvet cap and a gold mask. His wings shinned in the lantern light. His wings were, oddly, nimble enough to hold a goblet of wine and lift up his friend who had too much of said drink.
He flashed his quizzical black eyes at her and said, “What are you staring at?”
Angela’s jaw was open again.
Hiratio stepped between them, “She stares at nothing Petruchio.” He said, “You know, perhaps I should get the young lady a drink as an apology.”
“That might be a good idea”, said Adriana, “Petruchio and I will take care of Cilectio.”
Hiratio extended his arm to Angela and escorted her away from his friends and through the crowd.
“I suppose you’re wondering what all this is?” asked Hiratio.
“Where did you all come from?” asked Angel.
“Why, Venice of course.”
“You know what I mean.”
“O.K., well the truth is I don’t really know. We all congregate here when the moon is full. I came to this place, a year or two ago, the same way you did. I followed the music, ended up here, and befriended Adriana, Petruchio and Cilectio.”
“Didn’t you asked where any of them came from?”
“I tried asking Petruchio once but he just gave me a sly look and said, ‘Why, Venice of course.’”
“Don’t you worry about tourists?”
“Pff… like they come here at night. But that is hardly the point,” He said whirling around and staring his chocolate brown eyes right at her, “the point is: will you join us?”
Angela gave him a smile and said, “Why of course; I am Venetian after all. Why not?”
And so Angela did join them. Adrianna helped her find a mask and Hiratio did, in fact, give her that drink. She danced with as many people she could, even though she did not know the dances. She even danced with Cilectio, but she danced with Hiratio the most. He was a true gentleman; he was always kind to her and was so much fun to dance and talk with. There were so many wonderful people who looked wonderful dancing together. Angela thought the best couple dancing throughout the entire night was Adrianna and Petruchio.
Angela asked Hirato while they were resting and staring at the crowd at one point, “Don’t you think Adrianna and Petruchio make a brilliant dance couple?”
Hiratio responded with a sad look, “They should be, they’re both half in love with one another.”
“Well then why aren’t they together?” She asked.
“Well, for the obvious reason that she is a human and he is a raven.”
“Oh, I suppose that makes sense.” Angela said with a sunken gaze.
Hiratio walked Angela back to her home after the party dispersed. It was nearly sunrise and Venice would be waking up soon.
“Here,” said Hiratio, he placed a white rose bud in her hair, “a present, in hopes that we may meet again.”
“I think we will,” said Angela, “but until then; goodnight.”
Hiratio smiled, leaned in, kissed her on the cheek and walked away saying, “I believe you mean good morning.”
Angela’s room was aglow with sunlight in her room when she woke up. Her white sun dress remained hanging on the back of her chair, and her sandals were still at the foot of her bedroom door. Could it have all been a dream? Angela thought. She put on her white sundress, tied on her sandals and walked out of her front door.
It didn’t take her long till she reached San Marco Square. It was how it usually looked. People were sitting out in cafes drinking expensive coffee. Tourists were swarming every inch of the plaza, simultaneously taking pictures of things that Angela had seen every day. There was no sign that there had been an extravagant party last night.
It was then that Angela felt that there was something in her pocket. She reached into her pocket, and felt the rosebud’s smooth white petals between her fingers. Angela smiled and walked on.