Adrian’s phone. That was the key.
Maybe there was still a chance I could retrieve my art.
I quickly went through his apps and found his last locations. I would retrace his steps. I may not be a great huntress like Artemis or Hestia or act as a warrior like Athena, but I could do things my own way.
I went to the gallery office and opened a window to prepare myself. Sitting as still as possible, I listened to the universal energy surrounding me and began to summon the constellations. The power of the stars of Corvus rushed to meet and wrap me in their embrace. The blinding light of the stars caused me to shut my eyes tight. All around me it smelled like freshly-fallen snow. The current surged through me, transforming me into a raven. As I changed, the phone fell from my hand and clattered to the floor.
I hopped onto the window ledge. The air swept beneath my feathers and I fell. The wind caught, cradled, and lifted me as I dropped. The memory of flying returned. With a flap of my jet-black wings, I rose up into the dusk.
My corvid power included enhanced memory, so I easily recalled all of the recent locations in Adrian’s phone. A few I discarded outright because I knew what they were…Starbucks, Dick Blick, the great little taco place. Others I was not so sure.
My heart raced with fear and excitement as I backtracked along his paths. It had been such an extremely long time since I’d summoned this power. For millennia, I’ve played it straight. I’ve tried to avoid my celestial strength. But this situation required something extra. A little magic from the universe.
The next location on my list was in an area filled with warehouses. It looked promising. I swept down and scanned open bay doors and windows. I thought I might be in the wrong spot, but just by chance, I saw a stocky man walking outside of the last warehouse in the row. I flew closer and found that it was the man I’d seen on the security footage assaulting Adrian.
Nervousness washed over me, but as quick as it came, it disappeared. It dawned on me that he wouldn’t be suspicious since I was in bird form. I felt an internal giggle at my own paranoia.
For several minutes, I coasted in silent circles above his head, watching his every move as the day turned darker.
He entered the warehouse through a secure door. I drifted around, looking for an alternate way inside. I found a small open window at the other end of the building and prayed that I would not encounter any further barricades once I was inside. Making my way through the warehouse was easier than I expected. A few times, I was forced to weave around, duck behind things, or hide in the rafters, but I finally found the stocky man, his accomplice, and Adrian.
Adrian was slumped forward in a chair, seemingly unconscious: his hands cinched behind him, his feet bound at his ankles, and his chin resting on his chest.
The two men stood several yards away, arguing in Russian. Stocky’s raised voice insisted they needed to wait for their comrade, and the mustached man wanted to take off with the art and leave their partners out.
I knew that was a stupid idea, and I didn’t even need to know who their partners were.
My wings didn’t make a sound as I flew down near Adrian. It was simple for me to hide behind him and use my beak to undo the ties holding him. The men were none the wiser. I spotted a pair of neon pink earplugs on the forklift in front of us. I plucked them up and tried to drive them into Adrian’s ears. My efforts were too clumsy. I didn’t feel that I’d worked them in. I tried again. This time, the mustached man noticed me and started yelling. I did not have much time.
I flew up like a shot and then made large wing flaps to cut the distance between us. I lunged directly toward his thick mustache. He ducked, his arms flailing. His hand struck my wing, causing me to careen off course. I winced at the bolt of pain from the hit, but I corrected and landed on top of the forklift between the men and Adrian.
Safely out of reach, I clutched the steel machine and let loose in their direction. All of my rage came barreling out. My sonic scream ripped through the warehouse in front of me. A wooden shipping crate to the right cracked. Windows in front of me shattered. The Russian men grabbed at their heads and fell to the ground. Blood trickled from their ears, forming small pools beneath their heads.
I stared in disbelief.
What have I done?
I wonder if Zeus would be proud.