A quiet calm settled over the valley as darkness blanketed the landscape. We fell asleep beside the dying embers in the fireplace, the dogs and I. The moonlight beams danced across the aged wooden floor. A tiny mouse scurried along the widow sill nibbling on a piece of stolen cheese. He disturbed the row of clay jars there, knocking one to the floor with a crash. The din awakened me from one of my nightmares. Seeing the thief, but impotent to stop him, I watched as he disappeared behind the oak chest. I abandoned sleep to curl up with a nice thick book from the bookcase on the shelf behind me. Searching through the bookmarks, I read several aubades from within the pages of an old poetry book until the sun peaked out between the clouds, and the dogs began to molest me for breakfast.