He ducked down the filthy alley, climbed a fire escape for floor after floor, and stood on the edge of the brick tenement building.

He could still see her body like an abandoned truce flag, small, torn and red-stained, far below him. The discordant sound and sour stench of the city rose up around him in the night.

He lifted his eyes to the cloud-covered moon, breathed deeply, and screamed his grief and loss to the gods. “Why must the humans we love hate us, and why must we kill to escape?â€?

He spread his arms, searched for the faintest hint of a breeze, and leaped.

The wrench of bone reshaping, muscle distorting, and feather forming was a welcome agony. He caught an air current on the downstroke, and banked into the dark north sky.

He was leaving grief behind along with his humanity. The icy, alien north awaited.

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