Category: stories


Happy New Year!!! Here’s to a fresh new year of creativity and stories! Looking forward to reading and writing, and sharing stories and ideas with all the other awesome writers on the internet.

This piece was written for Words on Wednesdays in The Write Practice. Today’s word was Toxic. I really enjoyed writing it – maybe I can do something with these characters sometime?


As Thomas opened the huge wooden door to the stone walled chamber, she was the first thing he saw.

Vivienne – beautiful, bewitching, toxic. He had to lean against the door frame for a moment to steady himself.

She lay on her side across the chaise-longue in front of the fire, in a black and red corset and thigh length boots, with her long curtain of sleek shiny black hair tumbling down her shoulders.  She broke into a seductive smile, and Thomas was sure he could hear her purring.

“I knew you would come,” she said, her voice slithering towards him and tickling his ears. It was intoxicating.

Thomas cleared his throat. “Don’t imagine I’m falling for this, Vivienne.” He told her, in what he hoped was a strong unwavering voice, “You are pure poison. Toxic. If I touched you, I would burn in hell.”

Vivienne giggled “Oh come now! Let’s be friends!”. She rolled smoothly onto her back, lifting one long, shapely leg and hooking it over the back of the chaise. She lifted her hips a little, the sight of which almost caused him to stop breathing. It would be so easy to give in and lose himself in lust, but he had come here for a purpose, and he must not fail.

He took the dagger from his belt and marched purposefully towards her. He was breathing hard, his heart racing at the thought of what he must do. Her intoxicating scent hit his nostrils and surged into his lungs, and it took every last scrap of will power he had to hold the dagger above her chest.

“Must….stab….” he gasped.

But his senses were overpowered. He could hold back no longer. His dagger dropped to the floor, and he fell into her embrace, into the burning fire and poison of this evil, toxic witch. With one move, she flipped him over onto his back and moved on top of him, a ritualistic dance.

Annabelle tutted. She had watched the whole thing from behind the door.

“If you want something doing properly…” she muttered to herself, as she entered unseen into the room. Picking up the discarded dagger, she lifted it with both hands and plunged it into Vivienne’s back.

There was a split second of silence and stillness, as if the world had stopped for a moment.

Finally, Vivienne exploded with a roaring scream, filling the room briefly with hot red smoke and then vanishing with a noise that sounded like a hundred souls being sucked into a void.

Thomas fell to the floor, wide eyed and gasping. He looked at the chaise where he had been locked in Vivienne’s clutches moments before.

“Thanks,” he said, looking sheepishly up at his friend.

“Think nothing of it,” said Annabelle, curtly. She turned and walked out of the room.




This is a story I wrote for a competition a while back. I didn’t get anywhere in the competition, but I was proud of my story anyway. My Tea with Trolls story went down so well with everyone the other day, I thought I might throw this one at you too. 


I stood outside the dusty shop and hesitated for a moment. I really didn’t want to do this but I had no choice. It was the lesser of two evils – I didn’t want to go through another night of hiding in the bottom cupboard of the large dresser that stood in the parlor. It was too cramped. For 13 years old, I was small and slight but still, it was not as easy to hide there as it had been when I was 5. That was when the creatures of my nightmares had sprung, uninvited, into my real life. Every full moon they came to get me. In the early days, before my grandfather had his stroke, he would hide me in the dresser and then sit in his parlor chair, smoking his pipe. The smell of the tobacco hid my scent, and when the creatures came he would tell them I was not at home. They would turn grudgingly, and slither back into the night.

Nowadays I had to fend for myself.

I had found this shop quite by accident when I was 10. I was on my way to school, an awkward little girl with mismatched socks and clothes that I was going to grow into, walking alone as usual. I spotted the shop out of the corner of my eye – a crooked little building with faded peeling paintwork, broken roof tiles and filthy windows. It took me several months to pluck up the courage to go in, and several months more before I was brave enough to buy anything.

I had tried a variety of amulets and incantations lifted from dubious hand written spell books, and last time a throat burning, stomach churning potion. None of it had worked for long. The creatures guessed at my tricks. They were always just a step behind me.

So here I was again, desperate to find the answer.

I pushed at the door. The tinkling bell above the entrance announced my arrival, and I shut the door behind me and waited, biting my lip.

It was dark inside the shop, and it took a while for my eyes to focus on the dusty shelves lining the walls that held all manner of unusual objects – battered pots and tattered books, packets of incense sticks, strange contraptions that ticked and whirred, and bottles of potions that glittered darkly.

It was a moment before I noticed the old woman standing there watching me. When I met her eye, she gave me that familiar toothless grin that made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle.

“Back again, little Flitter-mouse?” she crooned.

“Um, yes,” I replied, fidgeting my feet and twisting my fingers round each other in my clasped hands. I cleared my throat a little. The words were having difficulty forming themselves in my mouth, “That potion you gave me…”

“You want some more?”

“NO! No,” I shook my head vigorously. I didn’t want to go through that again.

The old woman observed me shrewdly, nodding to herself.

“Some thing else.” she all but whispered with a wicked grin and beckoned me forward as she turned to the back of the shop.I followed her through a curtained archway behind the dusty counter into an old glass-house.The unwashed panes were murky and covered in green mildew. It was humid, and smelt damp and musty. Plants of various sizes fought for space in old plant pots. I noticed that some of the plants were moving…there was an ominous hushed rustling sound, as tendrils slithered and crept, and leaves wriggled and dripped.

I stood in the middle of the room my hands clasped under my chin, making myself as small and thin as I could. The old woman was hunched over in the corner, busying herself with a small pair of clippers and a trowel, humming tunelessly as she worked. Finally she turned round and held out a cracked, faded pot containing a small green cutting in a little bed of soft brown soil. It had one leaf and a tiny bud.

I took it from her uncertainly, holding it at arm’s length.

“It won’t bite!” she cackled, “It’ll grow fruit, and you want to eat ‘em if you want to stay safe. Before the full moon rises, girl!”

She took every last coin I had in my purse for that little cutting. But it was worth it.

Over the next few days, before the full moon, my cutting grew into a majestic plant with sturdy green leaves, and on the day of the full moon, pale yellow fruit appeared, with soft velvety skin, like little peaches.

And so, with much trepidation, on the night of the full moon, as the sun set in a pinky-orange sky, I sat on the cool stone step in the door way of our cottage with a little yellow fruit on my plate.

I lifted it to my mouth and bit into the soft flesh. It was sweet and juicy and so good to eat that I did not at first realize that my body was changing. I shrank smaller and smaller, and webs appeared between my fingers as my hands stretched into wings. My ears grew bigger, and I sprouted black fur all over my body.

You might think this alarming, yet somehow the transformation felt natural, even the first time it happened. I turned into a little bat the size of my human hand. And the best part, the most amazing, exciting, exhilarating part was that I could fly.

I swooped and I flitted, I dived and I soared, around the roof of the cottage, over the garden, through the trees in the wood.

That night, when the creatures came, those monsters from my nightmares, with their shadowy faces and their rasping moans, could not find me.

And they never will.

Tea with Trolls

One of the practice pieces in The Write Practice this week was to write in the style of JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’I really enjoyed writing this, and could have written pages and pages on it. 

There was an afternoon late one spring when a troll unexpectedly came to have Afternoon Tea with a wizard.

The troll hadn’t intended to take tea at all – Afternoon Tea is a delicate refined affair, much unsuited to the particularities of a troll. Supper was more his thing – a hearty meal slurped straight from a bowl and soaked up with big chunks of bread.

It was a warm and sunny afternoon. He had been merrily stomping through a hitherto quiet little village, bashing through doors and smashing windows, collecting unwilling dwarfs and hobbits with which to make a stew. In a bag over his shoulder he carried a growing collection of them. They were unusually still; some had frozen with fear and others had passed right out and were happily oblivious to their impending doom.

The Wizards house was much like the others in the village – small and slightly crooked, but brightly painted and cosy looking. So imagine the trolls surprise when the door was opened just as he was about to put his fist through it, and who should be standing there but a smiling little old man with silver hair in a long grey robe.

The Wizard carried a long staff. He waved it in a casual manner in the general direction of the troll, who succumed almost immediately to a severe bout of amnesia.

“My dear boy!” cried the wizard, “You are here at last! I have a pot of tea and a plate of hot buttered crumpets waiting for you in the drawing room! Not to mention a rather delicious spiced apple cake that I made just this morning! Won’t you come in?”

The troll, who could not recall at all who he was or why he was there, managed to mutter “Er…” before finding himself being divested of his coat and hat and being ushered into the little hallway.

“That’s the fellow!” said the wizard congenially, “Now why don’t you put down that bag of yours, it looks frightfully heavy!”
The troll looked with surprise at the bag as if noticing it for the first time. It WAS rather heavy, now the wizard came to mention it, and he was very glad to heave it off his shoulder and onto the carpeted floor of the hallway (much to the relief of its contents who set about planning their escape).

The wizard took the troll through to a curiously floral drawing room, where afternoon tea had been set on the table. A steaming teapot sat amongst plates of sweet and savory delights. The troll sat rather awkwardly on a chair that was much too small for him and attempted to take tea. It wasn’t easy at all! The china cups were much too dainty for his huge unwieldy fingers, the tea not sufficient to slake his thirst, and the sandwiches (cucumber, crusts removed) did not satisfy the hunger in his belly. Added to which the wizard kept up a stream of endless chatter that the troll could not keep up with and which prevented him from having the time to just think for a moment why he was here.

All too soon he found himself being hurried back out into the street with an empty belly and an equally empty bag.
“Goodbye then!” called the wizard, “No need to thank me for having you, the pleasure was all mine! Mind how you go!” and he banged the door shut.

The troll stood for a moment staring at the door, trying to work out in his befuddled brain how he came to have had tea with a wizard. But as it made his head hurt to think about, he decided to let the matter rest. He stumbled out of the village in a distracted way with a puzzled frown on his face, and was never seen again.


Our ‘Word on Wednesday

37/366: King Johann of Saxony

37/366: King Johann of Saxony (Photo credit: Magic Madzik)

‘ for The Write Practice blog was ‘Indubitable’, and here is what I wrote:

The new King sat on his horse at the gates of his castle and looked down across the town to the mountains and valleys beyond. It was finally his, all his, to rule over as he chose. All he needed, as he had informed the Court this morning, was to find a Queen to rule at his side. Someone to share his vision, support him in his campaigns, reflect his nobility, and most importantly – bear him a son.

“Your majesty!”

He looked down. At the side of his horse, the Royal Chancellor Lord Grovel stood, hands clasped, a pleading look on his face.

“Your majesty, I beg your forgiveness,” he began, bowing his head, “But….with the war having ended so recently, do you think it wise to be travelling off so soon? When your country needs stability –“

“I will give it stability, Grovel.” the King said, firmly, “What my country needs is to see their Ruler with a line of inheritance. My father is dead. I am now their King. I must marry, and have a son to sit on my throne after me.”

“That is indubitable, my Lord,” Grovel was now wringing his hands, looking up anxiously at his master, “But surely the matter could…wait?”

“Wait? WAIT?” the King roared at him, causing his horse to rear up a little. The King pulled sharply on the reigns, and his horse stilled with a ruffled whinny.

“NO, Grovel, it CAN’T wait!” said the King sharply. “I must be married at the earliest opportunity, and have a son to secure my family’s inheritance! THAT, Grovel, is indubitable!”

Lord Grovel groaned despairingly. He was almost in tears. He loved the King. He loved him TOO much. He had dreamt of this moment; to see the man he adored on the throne, in his rightful place, had been Grovels only wish and hope for a life time. But in his dreams he had envisaged that HE, Lord Grovel, would be at the King’s side – guiding him, supporting him, nurturing him. And yes, of course the King would marry in due course, indubitably, but it would be a small matter of no significance. A necessary chore, a ‘by-the-by’.

But apparently the King wanted more than that. He wanted a Queen for his life-long companion. And Grovel could see the life he had imagined slipping through his fingers and landing on the dusty floor of the courtyard, to be trodden underfoot by the King and his guard.



The Spell

We had an ingenious exercise for The Write Practice this weekend – to write in the style of one of our favorite authors. Well, my favorite author of all TIME is JK Rowling, but I always try to emulate her depth of emotion and attention to detail when it comes to her characters. So I decided instead to have a go at writing in the style of Terry Pratchett, another of my favorite story tellers. And yes, I do realize I have used the word ‘favorite’ too many times in this paragraph, but its Sunday morning…’s ok to be lazy.


Lila stood in the circle of wild mushrooms, and took the items she had acquired from the school room out of her pocket. As she did so, the piece of dried up chewing gum that Boltoph had given her fell to the ground. She decided to pretend she hadn’t noticed this. She didn’t think it was likely that the chewing gum had belonged to Miss Sharp anyway, even if it WAS stuck to the underside of the teacher’s desk.

And what she had needed were things that really belonged to Miss Sharp, if the spell was going to be a success.

It wasn’t that Lila was a particularly vindictive girl. It was more that Miss Sharp was a particularly vindictive teacher. Adults were supposed to be wise and learned; they were supposed to guide you kindly, and teach you the sorts of things you needed to know to survive being a grown-up. Miss Sharp didn’t even really teach literacy and numeracy very well.

And she most especially did not like Lila.

As she sorted through the things she had taken from her teacher’s desk, Lila’s subconscious told her that her hands still smarted from being slapped with the wooden metre ruler until they almost bled. But Lila ignored her subconscious. She needed her hands to work, and they couldn’t do that if they were just moping and feeling sorry for themselves.

She had a small blouse button, a hair pin, one of Miss Sharps over sharpened pencils, a small stub of white chalk and a shoe lace. The shoe lace had been a bit of a risk; it was new and unused, and wrapped neatly in brown paper, stored away in Miss Sharp’s desk. Lila was hoping that Miss Sharp wouldn’t be returning to school in the same state she had left that day, and wouldn’t notice the absence of spare shoe string. Plus she needed something to tie the other items together, and had it would have been a much greater risk to have tried to purloin a hair from Miss Sharps head.

Lila carefully tied the items together and put them on the ground, still ignoring the chewing gum that lay just a few inches away. She took the candle and matches from her pocket.

She knew she was supposed to tell the candle what she wanted it to do. Should she tell the match as well? And what about the match box that she would strike the match against to light it? Lila wished she had read the spell instructions a little more carefully.

Just to be on the safe side, she told EVERYTHING what it’s job was, struck the match, lit the candle and then after a few moments, poured melted wax onto the shoe lace. Then she held the flame against it and watched the little pile of objects burn. The flame didn’t last long, and the items were more singed than burnt, but it would do. Then she took the items outside the circle of mushrooms, put them in the hole she had dug in readiness and filled the hole with dirt again.

“Take THAT, Miss Sharp!” she muttered.



Dragon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is another short story that I wrote for The Write Practice ‘Word on Wednesdays’ – the word this time was Vociferous. I may re-write this at some point – extend it and use some synonyms  for vociferous.


They were vociferously unanimous in agreeing to the plan, this disparate group of tribe leaders and their henchmen. They had finally found a cause about which they could put aside their many differences, and work together to rid the land of the Dragon.

This huge unwieldy monster had come uninvited into their historically fought over territory one night, in the middle of a crackling, drenching, thunderous storm. The Dragon was every bit as vociferous as the storm itself – booming and crashing and stomping through the forests, felling trees with a swoop of its mighty wings and crumbling villages under its ungainly feet.

“THIS BEAST MUST DIE!” cried the chief of the most vociferous tribe, “OR WE WILL DIE TRYING!”

A mighty roar erupted from the other men, as they shook their swords and shields in the air. Their hearts pounded, their lungs heaved, their limbs pulsed, ready for action. They would take down the Dragon as one. And he who carved out its heart and held it aloft for all to see would be heralded the bravest, most noble chief of all time.

At the edge of the clearing, the least vociferous, smallest tribe member sat alone on a fallen log, chewing at the end of one of her long, flame coloured plaits. Her bright blue eyes had silently taken in the scene before her; her small pixie-like ears had heard their cries. But she knew a better way. She would take the Dragon out on her own, without ending its existence and without cutting out its heart.

She took the pendant out of the little cloth bag that always hung across her shoulders. It glowed with a pinkish-purplish hue, and felt warm in the palm of her hand. She tied the lace around her neck; the pendant lay on her chest. She felt its rhythm synchronise with her heart beat – ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.

Tonight the Dragon would leave the valley for good. And she would go with it.


Very short fiction piece

This was a little fiction practice piece I wrote for The Write Practice. We had to try and use the word ‘indicate’ (or derivations thereof) as many times as we could. I think i managed four…


“Of course, they didn’t have the term ‘gay’ in his time, but I think the indications were all there!”  Our prim and proper Scottish Professor swept her furled umbrella over the painting of the ‘Nude Male’, outlining his erogenous zones in case we hadn’t noticed them. “Just LOOK at the way he has painted the genitalia!”

We stood watching her drool over it; paused, lost in her own fantasy no doubt. My friend Jimmy coughed in irritation, and woke her from her day dreams.

“This way!” she indicated with the umbrella, and we all traipsed off again to the next room.

“See? There’s nothing to be scared of with her. She’s an art whore!” Jimmy whispered to me, indicating the Professor with his index finger, and making me snort behind my art books.

She hadn’t heard Jimmy’s comment, but she heard me snort. She stopped dead, causing several member of the class to bump into one another, and turned on me, eyes flashing and nostrils flaring.

“Ellen Fairfax, you might want to try and take your History of Art course a little more seriously. The exam is in two week. So far the indications are all pointing to failure for you, my dear.”

This is one of the stories I entered for a competition recently. Its modern fiction, rather than fantasy fiction, and I don’t feel like it is the best thing I have ever written, but it was my first try at following the rules for ‘Flash Fiction’, which are here if you want them.

The Cat

He didn’t like anyone.

He didn’t even really like himself. He had passionately hated the
woman he lived with for 8 years, until she finally gave up trying to
make herself more appealing to him. Funny how the minute she stopped
trying, decided she didn’t care any more, was the same minute he
realised she was the love of his life. But it was too late by then.

He hadn’t wanted to live alone, in this enormous empty echo-y house, with it’s high
ceilings and grey painted walls, that stood in the shadows of the
tall trees outside, which let in little sunlight even in mid-summer.

Maybe this was why, when an unknown cat let herself in one day through the open window of
the drawing room, he didn’t immediately throw her out again.

He had been sitting at what was once the dining table, in the days when they had held the dinner
parties he hated so much. Forced to become the genial host, to smile,
to pretend to be interested in the petty, boring lives of Clara’s
friends, while they drank too much wine and ate too much food.

Now the table had become his writing desk, covered in old newspapers with half
completed crossword puzzles, unpaid bills, and the discarded, coffee
stained sheets of his music – the agonised pouring out of his heart
and soul that never seemed good enough these days to send to his

The cat had let herself in and sat on the table in the middle of it all.

She was the colour of pale caramel. He supposed she was a particular breed, though he
didn’t know which. Maybe a type of Siamese. She had bright blue eyes
that stared into his, blinking slowly while she purred loudly,
tapping the tip of her tail rhythmically on the paper beneath her.

Tap tap tap.

He sat staring back and considered her. She must belong to one of the neighbours, he thought.
They had high stone walls and fences all around the huge, neglected
garden, but of course cats are inconsiderate of man made boundaries
such as these. She might have climbed one of the trees whose
branches trespassed from next door and hung untamed, dropping rotting
fruit and dried up leaves onto the lawn he hadn’t mown since Clara

He liked the purring and the tapping – the cat’s own music.

“Make yourself at home.” he told her. He suddenly realised it was the first sentence
he had spoken out loud for several days. His voice sounded oddly
harsh in the crushing silence of the room.

He looked back down at his music sheet. He hadn’t slept well the night before, and usually
that leant itself well to his creative process. When his eyes stung,
his head ached, and his hand hurt from holding his pen so tightly,
the most beautiful music flowed from his pen. Today however, nothing
would come. He had once read an article about ‘writers block’ which
suggested ‘write something, anything, even if it doesn’t make sense’.
So he scratched a few random notes onto the page in the hope that
they would transform into a tortuous, heart rending melody, reducing
the listener to tears, bringing a long unseen smile to the lips of
his agent and increasing his bank balance to at least a liveable

It didn’t help however. They were just squiggles on his page. They weren’t singing to him. He
closed his eyes, and as ever the old familiar images drifted into his
mind, uninvited yet persistent. Clara in the garden, lost in a book,
laying in a hammock between the apples trees; Clara on the beach, her
pale golden hair waving softly in the breeze; Clara laying next to
him in between freshly laundered sheets, her skin soft and velvety,
and her smell of summer.

A soft, rumbling ‘meow!’ woke him from his reverie.

The cat got up and walked right onto his music sheet. She rubbed her head against the
end of the pen and his hand, her purring increasing in volume. She
sat down again, her face close to his, and this time rubbed her head
against his nose, leaving a few tickling hairs behind on his skin
that he had to rub away with his fingers.

Realising the futility of trying to work with this new situation, he picked the cat up and
carried her to the sofa, kicking aside old pizza boxes and take-away
cartons, still covered with remnants of the last few weeks hastily
eaten meals. He sat in the last small habitable space that remained
on the sofa, next to untidy piles of dirty clothes, and rested the
cat on his lap. Whilst continuing to purr, she turned herself slowly
round three times, kneading him as she went with her paws, her sharp
claws occasionally finding their way through the worn fabric of his
corduroy trousers and into the flesh of his legs. It hurt a little,
but he didn’t mind the pain. It was pleasant to feel something
different to the empty ache he always felt in his chest.

She settled comfortably on his lap and he stroked her soft fur. He liked the way he could
feel the vibrations of her purrs on his legs.

He leant his head against the back of the sofa, closing his tired eyes, his hand
resting on the cat’s back, and found that his visions of Clara were
not so vivid in his mind as usual. The images were fading with each
purr; the empty ache eased; his mind soothed.

This City Never Sleeps

I wrote this for The Write Practice this morning. It was inspired by This City Never Sleeps, by The Eurythmics – they were my favorite band when I was a teenager, and I wrote a piece about this song before, when I was about 15. My English teacher didn’t like it…

Midtown Manhattan from Liberty Harbor in Weeha...

Midtown Manhattan from Liberty Harbor in Weehawken New Jersey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another tube train rattles past, shaking the old house with its crumbling plaster and loose fitting, mildew stained windows. I ram my pillow over my head trying to drown out the noise.

It’s 2am. Hopefully that was the last train tonight. Not that I will sleep any better, not in this apartment.

I’d only been living here a couple of weeks. It was all I could afford with my tin pot wages. Moving to the city was not as glamorous as I had imagined.

This house, divided as it was into too many dwellings, heaved with damp, fetid, crawling life.

I haven’t got used to the endless cacophony – the barely muffled talking, laughing, shouting, smacking, sucking, barking, clicking, switching, ticking I can hear behind the paper thin walls. I can hear people BREATH. I can hear them sweat. I can hear them moan and move against each other.

The pillow isn’t helping. I get up and walk to the bathroom. With the dull light from the flickering bulb I can see my reflection in the mirror above the sink. My eyes peer back at me from dark rims, my skin grey and breaking out in places. I splash my face with cold water, and watch the drips slide down my cheeks and drop from my chin.

Leaving the bathroom, I take a slurp of vodka from the bottle on my bed side table, light a cigarette and lay back on my pillow. Smoking has replaced sleeping, for me. I watch a moth flutter against the curtainless window, trying to get out into the darkness, and I listen to the people, whose names I do not know, struggling to survive in a city that never sleeps.

Abigail scooped up the kitten and placed it on her lap. She stroked its soft fur with her chubby hands, and listened to it purr. She wondered if the kitten loved sitting on her lap the way she loved sitting on her mother’s lap at bed time, curled up, head resting on mother’s chest, listening to the mixed sounds of her heart beat and her voice as she told a bed time story.

She wanted to be able to keep this little ball of grey fluff, with its pink tongue and sing-song meow. She could keep it in her bedroom, it could sleep in a box by her bed. She would promise to help mother with the dishes and feeding the chicken, she would even mind her little brat of a brother, if only she could keep this kitten.

Abigail hadn’t been allowed to keep the puppies when their fat lazy spaniel had popped them out, one by one, last summer. They were not very pretty puppies, but anything ‘baby’ is cute when you are 5 years old. Abigail liked to dress them up in her old baby bonnets and tie ribbons on their ears. But her father had taken them away one day in a box in the back of his truck, calling them ‘ugly mutts’ and not good enough to keep.  Mother told her they had been taken to a new home with a large garden and lots of butterflies to chase. Abigail hoped rather than believed this to be true.

The kitten was pretty though…and it would be useful! It could catch the mice and rats that ate the chicken feed in the back yard! Surely her father and mother would let her keep it if she told them this?

She bent forwards and buried her face in the kitten’s fur. She said a silent prayer…and then made a wish, just for luck.

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