Molly #19

Stephanie and I sat in the corner to eat our lunches and read a book together. She liked reading as much as I did and we sat there with our heads pressed together taking turns to each read one page at a time. Her brown hair tickled my face, but I never felt as happy as when Stephanie and I would get lost in our little fantasy world, far away from the school playground where we had wonderful adventures in a magical kingdom.

“I’m never going to sit in a castle and wait for a prince,” said Stephanie. “I want to have adventures and explore the world.” She was staring into the distance across the playground where the rain continued to pour down.

“I’m going to do that too. We can explore together and discover our fairy wings and fight bullys and do all sorts of things.”

“Can you imagine,” she said, “A world where everything is coloured like a rainbow and you can fly through clouds made of fairy floss?”

“And the stars are made of sprinkles and you can taste them on your tongue.”

“Where we can chase dragons in the rain and sing songs together by our campfire at night.” She leant her head against mine and giggled. I smiled as her brown hair danced against my cheek.

“Yes,” she said, “That’s what we will do when we grow up!”

The sound of the school bell broke the magic and we had to get up and go back to class.

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Molly #17

The night before I turned six years old there was a big storm that rattled the house throughout the night. The loud thunder and flashes of lightning were so scary I wanted to sleep in Mum’s bed, but she said I should be brave now I was about to turn six. As I lay in bed hugging Mr and Mrs Bear with my eyes wide open I thought the house was going to wash away from all the rain on the roof and the sound of the wind blowing outside.

I must have eventually fallen asleep because when I woke up in the morning the sun was shining brightly through the windows and I was six years old. When I looked outside there were big puddles everywhere and I quickly got dressed so I could go out and play in the water. Mum saw me from the kitchen window and yelled at me to come inside out of the wet grass. I got into big trouble for getting my shoes and dress muddy and felt terrible when she made me have a bath, even though it was only breakfast time. She said it was so that I would look clean and pretty for my birthday.

When I got out of the bath and was dressed again, everyone crowded around the kitchen table to watch me open my presents and I gave each of my sisters a hug and a kiss to say ‘thank you’. Stephen gave me a book about Pinocchio and I gave him an extra special kiss and hug before I was left alone to play with my new presents.  I went into the lounge room and sat on the floor and read about how Pinocchio dreamed of being a real boy. But he was very naughty for telling lies and seemed to get into trouble all the time, even when he didn’t mean to. I thought that was why he told lies, because he didn’t like getting into trouble. I wondered what it would be like to be made of wood, but I didn’t think I would like to be changed into a donkey and get long pointy ears and hooves like Pinocchio did. I much preferred being a real girl and I hoped getting into trouble in the morning wouldn’t make my ears grow. I still felt a little sad, even after all the excitement of opening my presents.

After a while Mum came into the lounge room and told me I should go and have a look on the back verandah. I rushed to open the door and there I found a brand new girl’s bike, all shiny silver and yellow with huge wheels. It had a bow tied around the handle bars and a sticker on the tube that read ‘Little Angel’.

The bike was a bit too big for me but I found that I could get on by climbing onto a chair first then pushing off. I turned the pedals and suddenly I was flying up and down the backyard with my legs spinning round and round.

I spent all morning riding under the mulberry tree, through the gate to the front and then back again. Stephen said I was going to wear a track in the muddy lawn. Mum said when I got bigger I could ride up and down the laneway and then the lawn would be safe. The laneway was dirt and ran down the back of all the houses along our street and it’s where all the big kids played.

“Molly,” I heard Mum calling out from the back verandah. “It’s time to come in. I think Stephanie is here; I just heard a car pull up out the front.”

I jumped off my bike and ran to meet my best friend at the front door. “Stephanie!” I squealed and gave her a big hug.

“Hi Molly, happy birthday,” she said as she handed me a present. It was wrapped in purple paper with a pink ribbon tied around it. I was so excited that I ripped all the paper off in one go and there inside was a beautiful book of stories about fairies. “Oh Steph, I love it,” I said and gave her another hug.

“Why don’t you girls go outside and play for a while before lunch?” Mum said.

“Come on Steph,” I said. “Come and see my new bike.” We went out the back and took turns riding my bike around the yard for a little while.

“I’ve had enough of riding, Molly. Let’s go and play on the swings,” Stephanie said. I wasn’t tired of the bike, but I leant it carefully against the wall and followed Stephanie across to the swing set. I didn’t mind playing on the swings for a little while but it made me feel sick if I went too fast.

“Come on, Molly… go higher like me.” Stephanie was already swinging high, kicking her legs right up into the sky and she looked just like a blur. I tried to keep up with her and kicked my legs to make the swing go faster. Every time I went forward to the top of the swing I would feel like I was going to fly off into space, then my stomach would plunge as I suddenly started to swing backwards. Stephanie was giggling loudly and she kept urging me to go faster and faster. Each time I would kick my legs and go higher and higher, but then I started to feel dizzy. I tried to hang on until it suddenly felt like I was floating in mid air. Everything froze for a moment and then I started falling, down, down forever, until I landed with a thump on the ground. I was stunned for a moment, and then started to scream because my arm hurt where I had landed on it crookedly.

“Molly! Are you okay?” Stephanie jumped off the swing and put her arm around me as Mum raced out of the house. By the time she arrived I was sobbing uncontrollably.

“What happened? Let me have a look.” Mum felt my arm and it really hurt. “Well I don’t think it’s broken so you will live.” She picked me up and carried me inside the house. “You girls should play inside where it’s safer.”

Molly #15

I started learning how to swim soon after school began and on Saturday mornings I had to walk all the way down to the swimming pool with Mum and my sisters. I wore new pink swimmers to the pool and a big floppy hat to keep the sun off my face.

On the way to the pool I had to walk past the old cemetery. Even on the warmest day the old gates look cold and gloomy and long grass grew around the graves. Stephen once said that ghosts wandered around in there and I walked a little faster and kept my eyes on the footpath rather than looking up at the grey and lonely headstones. Mum and the girls didn’t seem to be bothered though and I tried to walk in the middle of them where it was safe until we got to the end of the block.

Then we walked across the railway line and left the cemetery far behind and my legs suddenly got tired from walking so fast that I started to lag behind. Every now and then I had to run to catch up again because they wouldn’t wait for me.

Eventually we reached the pool and the girls ran off to join their friends as soon as Mum paid and we walked through the gates. There was a little bit of time before my swimming lesson so Mum let me play in the baby pool for a while. I liked being in the water but it was always freezing cold at swimming lessons and I couldn’t stop myself from shivering and my lips sometimes turned blue. Mum put yellow floaties on my arms to stop me from sinking and she had to blow them up until they were big and puffy and squeezed my arms so tight that I could feel my fingers tingling.

Jumping in the baby pool was fun because I could touch the bottom and make lots of splashes. I liked the feeling of the water on my body, how it moved against my skin and I could feel myself pushing through it like swimming through honey.

One of the first things I learned to do in my swimming lessons was to float on my back until I was able to just bob up and down with my arms spread like a starfish. Then I learned to move my hands and feet and push myself across the pool. It wasn’t so easy when I was on my front because I couldn’t breathe and the water filled up my goggles and stung my eyes. I took a few arm strokes and then rolled over to take a big breath while facing the sky.

After a while, Lisa, the swimming teacher, took the class to swim at the deep end. Everyone lined up on the edge of the pool and one by one we had to jump in and paddle across to the teacher. I was at the end of the line and I started to get more and more nervous as it came closer to my turn.

“Come on Molly, you can do it,” Lisa called out from the middle of the pool. All the other children had already swum out to her and back to the edge and there were some faces watching me from the water. But the bottom of the pool looked so far down and it was such a deep blue and the teacher was swimming so far away from where I was standing. My toes edged forward slowly, feeling how slippery the tiles were. I could feel tears building up in my eyes as Lisa called out again more sternly. “Molly, if you don’t get in then I will have to climb out there and throw you in!”

I started to back away from the slippery edge of the pool, when suddenly there was somebody behind me and I was being pushed towards the water. I started to scream and fell to the ground in a panic. Everything seemed to be a whirl of colours and noise and when I looked up all I could see was the grinning face of that boy, Darren, from school laughing at me. “Molly’s a scaredy cat, Molly’s a scaredy cat,” he taunted.

Just then I heard Stephanie’s voice. “Leave her alone, Darren.” In a flash of blue bikini my best friend raced across the grass to confront my tormentor.

“Darren, go and sit down over there.” My swimming teacher climbed out of the pool and pointed to a bench near the canteen. She didn’t look very happy at all. “Leave the girls alone,” she said sternly. I was sitting on the ground crying when I felt Stephanie’s hand on my shoulder. Lisa walked over and took my hand. “Come on girls; let’s go back down the shallow end. Perhaps we will try the deep end again next week.”

I didn’t want to get back in the pool, but Stephanie was watching me so I tried to be brave and finish the swimming lesson. The water felt really cold then and I shivered the whole time until my teeth started chattering.

Eventually I was allowed to climb out and Stephanie and I lay on our towels to dry in the warm sunshine. I could hear the sound of splashing and laughter but there was no way I was getting back in the water. With my face pressed against the towel, I watched a line of ants marching across the concrete toward the grass as Stephanie talked brightly to try and cheer me up.

On the way home from the pool Mum bought me a bag of mixed lollies full of freckles, custard whirls, redskins, and jelly babies. The sun was high in the sky and I shared my lollies with Stephanie as we walked along. I soon started smiling and chatting again as we skipped across the cracks in the footpath and tried to catch up with Mum and the girls before we got near the cemetery.

Molly #14

One day a man come into the classroom with a guitar on his back. Mrs Mills said his name was Neil and he started playing some songs as the class sat on the floor and listened. Neil had wild fuzzy hair and holes in his jeans and his guitar sparkled like diamonds. He was tall and spoke softly, but when he started playing the songs were so beautiful that I couldn’t stop my feet from moving. I enjoyed it when we were allowed to sing along and I loved the way singing made me feel so good, as if something alive was coming out of my body.
When I got home I told Mum that I wanted to play the guitar. “Perhaps when you get bigger, Molly,” she said. “You know, girls don’t usually play guitar though, maybe you should just be a singer.” But I was already bursting with music and I couldn’t stop thinking about Neil’s sparkly guitar and how the beautiful notes fell from it like starlight as I walked around the house singing ‘Morning Has Broken’ again and again.
“Oh Molly, stop singing,” Samantha yelled from her bedroom, “You are so hopeless. I’m trying to do my homework.” I could hear the radio that was playing in her bedroom get louder and she slammed the door shut, so I went into my bedroom and sang to Mr and Mrs Bear as they sat on my bed listening to me.
I sang about being followed by a moon shadow, and although I didn’t really know what it meant, I liked the sound of it, sort of mysterious. I also liked singing that other song about things blowing in the wind. I felt like I knew what that one meant; something that you can’t quite name, but it is out there anyway, blowing in the wind like a butterfly and if you could only catch it you would find the answer.
Every night I sang while I was having my bath, trying to get my voice as low as it would go as I sank down towards the bubbles. Then I tried to sing really high like an opera singer and I lifted my face up to the bathroom ceiling. “Molly!” Mum called from the kitchen, “Stop being so noisy in there and hurry up and finish your bath.”
“Okay Mum,” I called back. I felt like I had finally found what I wanted to be when I grew up. “I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul…”

Molly #13

I was not so good at numbers at school, but I enjoyed playing with the blocks because I liked all their colours and the way they could be stacked together to make pretty patterns. Mrs Smith tried to explain to me how the red rods were worth two and the green rods were worth one and that if you put them together you had three, but I could still only see two rods so I just didn’t get what she was talking about.

As the school year progressed I began to learn how to do handwriting as well. With my little fingers clutched around a wooden pencil, I had to take down the words Mrs Mills had written on the board and put them in my exercise book. No wonder it was called an exercise book because by the end of the day my fingers were so sore from gripping the pencil it felt like they had run a marathon across the pages. As my fingers got tired my hand would drag over the page and smudge all the letters until I couldn’t tell if I had written ‘dog’, ‘fog’ or ‘bog’.

Every now and then the end of my pencil broke and I had to put my hand up and ask Mrs Mills if I could sharpen it. There was a mechanical pencil sharpener bolted to a cupboard and as I turned the handle it ground the pencil until it looked like a little sausage being eaten by a machine. Sometimes my pencil ended up so short that I could barely hold it in my fingers. Then the words danced all over the page and I couldn’t follow the correct slope at all, no matter how hard I tried, until the words eventually got washed down the slope by a flood of tears and Mrs Mills told me again how messy my writing was.

Once we were able to write letters and words, Mrs Mills started teaching the class about composition, where we had to copy down sentences from the blackboard about sly brown foxes and lazy dogs, before making up our own sentences. I couldn’t think of anything to write so Mrs Mills suggested that I write about a family pet. I sat and thought for a while and then decided I would write about the cat and how he was grey and fat and he always sat. Mrs Mills walked around the room as we were busily writing and she stopped to look over my hunched shoulders at my book. She pointed to the page with her ruler and told me there was something missing and that it was far too untidy. She said it looked like a spider had spun loopy webs of letters across the page and I had to fix it up before I could go home. I stared hard at the page for ages, but I couldn’t work out what she wanted me to do that would make it look any different so I just traced over the letters again with my pencil. That just ended up making an even bigger mess and the fat cat still sat, but now he was looking black from the pencil instead of being grey.

Later on we were given work books where some of the words in the sentences were missing. I took my pencil and filled in the gaps, sometimes using ‘to’ and other times using ‘too’ because I figured at least some of them must be right. None of this made any sense to me and we seemed to do it for hours after lunch until I could hardly keep my eyes open any longer.

The best part of the school day was when I was allowed to take books home and read them overnight. Once a week we went to the school library and we were allowed to borrow two books at a time. The first time I went into the library I just stood there amazed at how many books there were, all lined up in shelves that looked like they would have reached all the way up to the stars if the library roof didn’t stop them. There were so many books to read that I didn’t know where to start. I just wanted to sit there forever and read every single one of them.

Molly #12

When I got home I played with my dolls and teddy bears and tried to forget about school. I had two favourite teddy bears; one was a soft pink bear with a bright pink ribbon around her neck that I was given when I was a baby. The other was an old scruffy brown bear that had belonged to Stephen when he was little. One of his eyes hung loose and he was missing lots of fur on his body. I called them Mr and Mrs Bear and I loved them both so much that they shared my pillow and I hugged them every night as I fell asleep. Sometimes when I woke up in the morning Mr and Mrs Bear had slipped right down under the blankets to my feet.

Now I was at school I sat Mr and Mrs Bear on my pillow and read to them. Mrs Bear looked very interested and leaned toward the book, but scruffy old Mr Bear looked a bit bored as his loose eye dangled down. I think Mr Bear was a bit sad sometimes and longed for the days when he was a strong, young bear with lots of nice fur. I tried to make him happy again with my reading.

“Molly!” Mum called out from the kitchen. “It’s time for bed sweetheart, you’ve got school tomorrow.” I could hear the sound of the jug boiling as it blew a whistle of steam.

“I’m nearly finished Mum. I’m just reading my book.”

“Five more minutes then, while I have a coffee.”

“Okay Mum.” I settled myself back down on the bed, lying on my tummy with my knees bent and feet crossed in the air; Mr and Mrs Bear were waiting expectantly. “All right guys, let’s find out about the cow in the canal. ‘Once a cow was eating grass…’”

Molly #9

As I looked around the classroom, everyone else was busy working on their pictures. The sun looked nice shining through the windows and it threw shadows across the room. One wall was lined with a bookcase, full of colourful books that I longed to explore and as I stared at their different shapes I wondered what exciting things were inside. The wall had some posters on it; one showed a fox jumping over a dog that was on the ground sleeping. Other posters had pictures of animals with words written above them. Alongside the doorway was a picture of a tall giraffe. It reached nearly to the top of the door and had little lines and numbers on it.

I lifted my head and stared at the ceiling which was painted white and had long bars of fluorescent lights shining down. I looked at them until my eyes felt dazzled and when I blinked I could still see those strips of bright white light against the back of my eyelids. I kept my eyes closed for a few seconds until the white strips began to go blurry and then slowly turned black.

There was a clock above the door and I could hear it ticking loudly in the quiet classroom. Tick, tick, tick, it went as I watched the little hand sweeping around so fast and I wondered why the other hands didn’t seem to be moving at all. I thought about Mum and what she would be doing right now. Probably vacuuming and dancing around the house to the radio. If I was home right now I could be playing with my dolls in my bedroom. Tick, tick, tick… I watched the clock and started to feel myself yawn. The door was open beneath the clock and I could see the playground outside. I was starting to get bored and I wriggled around in my seat to get comfortable. I wished I was out in the playground and running around in the fresh air.

I looked around the classroom again and saw heads bobbing up and down all over the place and other children wriggling in their seats. The desks were arranged in squares, with four children to a table, and these were spaced around the room like the petals of a flower. My desk was brown and had a little hole in one corner. Underneath the hole there was a small shelf and I started to amuse myself by poking my coloured pencils into the hole.

Sitting at the desk with me were Stephanie and two other girls, but I couldn’t remember their names. Stephanie was concentrating hard on her drawing and I watched the way her eyes moved up and down with the pencil. She had a little frown on her forehead that made her look grown up and wise. The other girls were also busy with their drawings. One of them had blonde hair tied up in a pony tail that swished around as she coloured in her name. The other one had straight brown hair that was cut short to just below her ears. She had her head down on her arm and was staring intently at the pencil dancing across her page. Every now and then she yawned and I could see the redness at the back of her mouth.

At the front of the room was a blackboard and Mrs Mills’ desk. She was sitting at her desk and reading a book. ‘MRS MILLS’ was written in huge white chalk letters across the blackboard. I wondered if she would smile more if she had used coloured chalk to write her name. I looked down at her desk which had some books and other important looking things on it in black containers, all neatly stacked in rows. They looked like little soldiers ready to march as soon as Mrs Mills gave the command. She was wearing a brown skirt that covered her knees and she had thick black shoes that clomped on the wooden floor when she walked. Her hair was pulled back very tight from her face, making it look like her eyes had been stretched so that she could watch the whole classroom at once. She looked very scary when she was sitting at her desk and when I saw her eyes watching me I quickly looked back down at my drawing.

Thursday fragments 18

I started school the next day while Mum and Dad tried to find a house to rent.  It was just like starting my first day of kindergarten all over again. I sat there looking at my feet while Mum talked with the school headmaster. He looked like he was a hundred years old and as dry and gnarled as all those trees along the road. His eyes were cold and grey as they looked at me without interest.

When Mum left I was taken to my new classroom by a lady with shoes that clicked loudly on the tile floor of the corridor. She knocked at the classroom door and pushed it open to be greeted by the noise of strange children chattering and giggling. I was taken across the classroom to meet my new teacher, Mr Anderson, who was sitting at his desk reading a book. Slowly, the class started to become quieter as some of the children noticed a new girl amongst them. I could hear the ones at the front whispering to each other and I just knew they were all looking at me standing there in my unfamiliar school uniform.

When the lady left, Mr Anderson stood up with me at the front of the classroom. He held his hand up until everyone was quiet and looking toward the front. ‘Class, this is Molly White. She has come to join us here in 4KA so I hope you will all make her welcome.’ I knew my face was bright red, I could feel it burning and I heard some boys toward the back of the room whispering to each other. I just wanted to run away and I knew tears were starting to form in my eyes. ‘Molly, there is an empty desk over near the window. You can sit there. Okay class, it is time now for maths so I want you to open your books at chapter three and we will have a look at number lines.’

I slid into my seat and opened the book Mr Anderson had handed me, but everything looked blurry and instead of number lines I saw rivers of tears running across the page. Cool autumn sunlight came through the window and I could see wisps of cloud drifting by in the pale blue sky as Mr Anderson’s voice droned on about something to do with numbers and lines and hopping from one to four. I thought about the railway line and wondered how many hops it would take before I got back to Stephanie.

At lunchtime I sat on a bench in the playground. It was all bitumen and there was no grass, just lines marked out for all sorts of games. It was like one of those unhappy playgrounds I had seen when we were driving through the city. I looked at the sandwiches in my lunchbox, but I didn’t feel at all hungry because my stomach was tied up in a little knot. I started to think of Stephanie again and began to cry.

After a while I noticed someone had sat on the bench next to me. ‘Are you okay?’ I heard a little voice say. I could see a pair of white cotton socks and dusty black school shoes poking out shyly from beneath a checked school dress.

‘I thought you looked sad,’ the voice said again. ‘I wondered if you would like some of my vegemite sandwich.’ The voice belonged to a little girl, about the same size as me with a face covered in freckles. ‘My name is Ellen,’ she said.

‘I’m Molly,’ I said quietly as I finally found my tongue.

‘Don’t be sad, Molly. School isn’t that bad when you get used to it. Do you want to come and play handball?’

‘I don’t know how to,’ I said.

‘Well that’s okay, I can teach you.’

She took my hand and we walked across to where a crowd of girls were lined up watching two other girls hitting a tennis ball to each other with their hands. As we stood in the line, Ellen explained that I was meant to hit the ball to the other person with my hand, but it had to bounce before going over the line. If you missed it or hit the ball outside the squares then you were out and had to go back to the end of the line. Everyone wanted to get to the king’s square.

Soon it was my turn and I stood in the square opposite a big girl with short hair. Suddenly there was a tennis ball flying towards me and I threw my hand at it but missed completely. Some of the girls giggled as I walked off to the end of the line.

‘Don’t worry, Molly,’ said Ellen. ‘You’ll soon get the hang of it.’

Before I had a chance to have another go, the bell went and we had to go back into class. ‘Let’s play again tomorrow, Molly,’ Ellen said. ‘You’re going to have a lot of fun.’ I wasn’t so sure that I would be able to hit the ball so I was glad that the bell went and saved me from further embarrassment.

The classroom was kept warm by a log fire. Ellen was a fire monitor and she asked Mr Anderson if I would be allowed to help her gather some logs from a box outside the classroom before we went back to our desks.

Ellen told me there was an old man that worked at the school and one of his jobs was to keep the firewood box stacked with wood for the classrooms. She said he was a bit creepy and that I should keep away from him, but there was no sign of the caretaker as I followed Ellen to the back of the classroom. She skipped along and seemed so happy and that made me feel a bit lighter, but the logs were really heavy and I got dirt and little bits of bark stuck all over my school dress when I carried them back to class.

The fire was in an iron box, like a little stove, and I watched Ellen carefully open the door and rake among the embers with a poker. When the flames were dancing around like little devils, I passed her a log and she put it on top of the fire. A shower of sparks and smoke rose into the air and me cough.

When I got back to my desk, I saw that my hands were all dirty. But I wasn’t game to ask Mr Anderson if I could go to the bathroom to wash them so I tried to wipe them clean on my school dress. My hair smelled all smoky as well and I started to worry about what Mum would say when I got home.

Then I began thinking about home and I realised that I didn’t even know where home was, or if we had one. I looked out the window at the clouds again to try and stop myself from crying, but a couple of teardrops still leaked out and fell on my cheeks.

I looked around and saw Ellen watching me. She gave me a little smile and I tried to smile back but my lips wouldn’t move in the right shape. Things improved later in the afternoon, though, when we had some quiet reading time. I picked a book out of a box that was on the floor and we were allowed to sit on the mat in the middle of the classroom and read. Ellen came and sat next to me and held my hand.

By Light of the Third Moon – Part 2

Bea sat and looked up at the stars. Their twinkling brightness in the autumn sky was comfortingly familiar. At least one thing wasn’t all screwed up.
The moon was large on the horizon.
Mist drifted slowly over the precipice, shrouding the valley far below.
Bea couldn’t remember how she’d gotten here but she knew she was being followed. There wasn’t much time. She had to keep moving.
Then she heard it. At first it was just a dull drumming on the breeze. It got louder. Wind swirled the trees violently.
A voice came from behind her and Bea quickly stood up in fright.
A woman appeared out of the mist, reaching out her hand. She wore a long red velvet gown with strange symbols embroidered in golden thread. The gown closely fitted the elegant, shapely figure beneath. A wild tangle of dark curls hung over the woman’s shoulders.
Bea found herself reaching out. She had no control of her own body.
Her heart was racing.
As the woman moved closer Bea was pressed back against the rock wall. She couldn’t move. All she could do was watch the red dress coming closer. The golden patterns swirled hypnotically in the mist.
Bea felt the woman’s breath against her cheek. She could smell her perfume. The woman stroked Bea’s hair and then closed her eyes as she began chanting.
‘Forces higher
I call on thee
Awake this child
From her dream.’
‘Who are you? Who are you?’ Bea cried out.
There were tears on her cheeks.
The woman hesitated for a moment then began to fade.
Bea woke in the darkness of her bedroom.
She was shivering uncontrollably.
Through the curtains she could see clouds slowly clearing to reveal a full moon. Stars were beginning to appear and the bright moonlight cast shadows on the ground below. As Bea laid her head back on the pillow a shadow moved silently away from the house.

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