Clara Dietrich’s heart was still.
The point of her sketching pencil quivered above the page. It itched to draw, but she dared not move a millimeter. She might frighten it.
A pair of black eyes housed in a tufted red face regarded her. The cardinal tilted its head, deciding the level of threat she posed. After a moment of serious deliberation, it came to the conclusion that she was neither a hawk nor a cat, and continued to peck at the seed she’d spread on the ground before her bench.
With a whoosh, she released her breath into the cool October air and allowed herself a smile. The park near Old St. Mary’s was her favorite place to sit and observe local wildlife. There was so little of it in the city outside of the parks – brief respites of color caged between the gray and brown buildings.
Careful to move as little as possible, she shifted her day dress so she could lift her leg to use as a makeshift table. Her pencil flew over the creamy page as her eyes absorbed the cardinal, drinking in every claw and marking before he took flight.
She didn’t have long to wait.
"Sorry about that."
Clara jumped at the voice behind her.
"Oh. Sorry again. Didn't mean to startle you. Just wanted to say, sorry about the cardinal."
Clara smiled. "It was quite something. I've never seen anything quite like it before."
"I know, I know. Really quite curious. He's new here, and frankly, I'm rather worried about him, as is the bishop." Father Murphy waved goodbye and followed the cardinal back to St. Mary's.
Opening: Steph.....Continuation: anon.