By Amanda Pizzolatto (Rated G)
She watched the night sky, looking for something more specific than stars or comets. Though, what she had in mind could look like a comet at first, until you notice the flight pattern, but by the time someone notices, it would have already flown past. It was for this that she kept her eyes peeled, one was supposed to be flying by amidst the meteor shower that night, and she aimed to see it without fail. The meteor shower was not to start for another few minutes, allowing her time to try and visualize what she wanted to see most of all.
It wasn’t too hard – there were people who had seen it, this creature that could live in outer space, this creature of the stars. Steed of the angels it was called, steed of the genies, even, as only genies have ever been able to approach it without fear. But she could not understand, what was so scary about the peryton? It was best described as having the head, body, and legs of a deer with the four wings, tail, and eyes of the phoenix. Its body was covered with something akin to a mix of fur and feathers that was as white as a pearl with a soft glow surrounding its body. Its antlers and hooves were of a golden color, the antlers coming to a sharp point in groups of seven or nine points. And its eyes, though like that of a phoenix, was the color and consistency of jasper, each peryton having a different hue.
But the more she mused upon it, the more she convinced herself that she would not be afraid upon seeing it, that she could not be afraid of it. All depictions of the peryton were the same – a half deer, half phoenix creature of magnificence and grace, quite like the angels they were often depicted with. What was so scary about that? Yes, like the angels, there were stories of perytons being quite fierce in war, fiercer than even a unicorn. But she saw no such fierceness depicted, even in scenes of battle. And yes, like the phoenix, it burned with love for God, and like the deer, yearned to ever be in His presence. But though they preferred solitude over all else, they obeyed their Creator and helped the angels in caring for the universe.
A sudden noise broke the stillness of the night, bringing her attention back to the task at hand, and returned to her vigilant watch. It wasn’t long before she saw what she was looking for and came to understand why those who saw it for real grew afraid. It was as magnificent as everyone said they were, but its presence, its aura as it flew over, created quite the impression that this creature was not one to be trifled with, not even lightly. And its antlers shone in the night sky like swords cleaned and prepped for battle, a wonder and a warning.
As soon as it came, it was gone. But the impressions it made in its wake, the feelings, the thoughts, would last for a lifetime.