Jane had walked down this street countless times on errands, and had never noticed the strange little tent in the vacant lot. To be fair, she had never noticed the vacant lot at all, with or without a tent. In the afternoon light, the tent seemed to glow orange with possibilities. She was in no hurry today, and curiosity struck, so she crossed the street to investigate.
From a distance, the tent was not particularly remarkable. But close up, she could see that the entire thing was embroidered in an odd pattern that made her eyes water as she tried to figure out whether there were two or three legs on each bar. The tent itself was circular in plan, with straight sides and a conical roof. A stuffed raven was fastened to the top of the center pole. At least Jane assumed it was stuffed. Until it turned and stared at her approach. Then grinned at her.
Just an automaton or puppet she thought.
Then it opened its beak and quarked at her knowingly.
Taken aback, she paused at the tent door.
“Come in, please do, and be comfortable” came a faint voice from within. “Don’t mind the bird, he’s not as infallible as he thinks.”
Stepping into the darkness, Jane paused and let her eyes adjust to the gloom. Somehow it was a lot larger inside than out. From the tent door to the wizened figure was at least twenty feet, while the tent itself was no more than ten feet across. Nevertheless, she crossed the space easily and made a place for herself at the table.
The figure chucked to itself the whole time.