Something--and I still don't know what--was making a racket at 4 this morning. The noise was outside but was still piercingly loud and woke me out of a sound sleep. I've never heard anything like it--like the scream of a dying animal mixed with the shriek of fatigued metal. Our black cat fled to the cellar, Kimba stared at me wide-eyed. I woke up Lord Branwyn (who could sleep through the Apocalypse). Shortly afterward, the noise stopped. The yard looked peaceful and ordinary, and oddly, there was no reaction from the neighborhood dogs. Screech owls make some weird sounds, but this was different. It was a long while before I could fall asleep. I half expected to find a dead extraterrestrial on the front walk this morning, and the (very small) superstitious corner of my mind wonders if we heard the banshee.