This is a one-shot inspired by a brief line in Chapter 18 of Guns and Roses that I decided to develop in a whimsical moment. It's very short - only 500 words - and it's about a shared experience between Bella and Edward, common to each even though they're separated by the Atlantic. It's set between Chapter 18 and 20 but doesn't really fit into the story so I decided to post it separately.

This is quite different to anything I've posted for Guns and Roses before so let me know if you like it. It's slightly poetic - a style I like, but I know not everyone's the same. I'd really appreciate a review to tell me if I did OK :)

Bella's point of view is the normal typeface and Edward's is in italics. Hope that's clear enough when you read it.

Swallow Song

Wheeling swiftly through the grey sky, its flight a tussle of feathers and thermals, the swallow swooped up above. I traced its path with my eyes longingly, enraptured by the promise of freedom it carried on its wings. It soared over the treetops effortlessly, liberated from the conforming slavery and sobriety that chained everyone below.

Over my head, a lone swallow circled in the gathering dusk, and I followed its trajectory mindlessly. I was almost hypnotised by the soporific uniformity of each beat of its powerful wings, transported for a moment from the erratic uncertainty I inhabited. It seemed almost a symbol of peace, of a brief reprieve from the hell around me that dogged my every step.

It seemed that the whole world was sleeping through this shadowy twilight and the swallow and I were the only sentient beings in the town, every house locked under shutters and tucked in for the night.

I was stunned to see this rare example of vitality over the dead landscape, like the only living creature over a terrain scarred by the paste of sod and blood that congealed on the ragged soil.

The darkness rolled along the quiet street, absorbing each tree and house in its turn. The trees above my head, just sprouting into leafy canopies after the long winter, seemed to shield me from the night, cocooning me in their protective embrace.

One lone tree had somehow endured in the middle of No Man's Land: a bare, craggy beacon, stripped of leaves and most of its branches, scorched and disfigured by shells and bullets, but still standing against the odds. Sometimes I felt that I could empathise with that tree; even envy it for its tenacity and fortitude. I knew that the day that the tree fell, the last vestiges of hope that I might survive would wither away.

I watched, mesmerised, as the swallow flitted aimlessly through the smoky heavens, each gentle flap like a soft pulse in the twilight.

With each thrash of its thewy wings, the swallow propelled itself further through the clear grey sky, soundlessly slicing through the cold air as it flew with purpose and direction.

A peaceful silence fell over the town as the evening crawled on, the first hints of charcoal darkness settling over the rooftops.

There was an uneasy silence over the opposing trenches; a reprieve that reminded me portentously of the calm before a storm.

There was no chatter of voices

No echoing shellfire

No patter of footsteps

No clatter of bullets

No rumble of carts from the market.

No ghosts of dying men's cries.

And in the silence I watched the swallow

So I just watched the swallow

Circling over the chimney pots

Circling over the rail guns

Dipping and swooping.

Diving and shooting back up into the sky.

The crash of a door closing

The crack of a rifle

The swallow twitches

The swallow twitches

And flies away into the gathering dusk

And falls to the churning dust

It is gone.

It is gone.