- Author: Dani Swanson
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The Hunt of the Grimalkin
Copyright © 2017 Dani Swanson
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form is forbidden without written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. It’s not about you.
The Hunt of the Grimalkin
Cover design by Jessyca Bellinger and
Elle Swan Design
Edited by Erin Huber and Lisa Swanson
To my loving family and friends who have put up with me with my passions. I appreciate the support and humor as I created.
Erin, thank you, for being my awesome editor and working through this process with me. Jessy, thank you, for helping me with the cover art. I couldn’t have done it without you two!
To my loving boyfriend, Mike. Thank you for pushing me to be better and to chase after my art – both in paint and words.
Laying in the soft grass, she could feel the sun slowly moving across her face; warming her skin and drying the light dew that covered her. She wanted to open her eyes, but couldn’t because of the searing pain she was feeling in her head. She felt the fur of a little cat, nuzzling her hand that was laying on her stomach. Her lips parted to breathe deeper and her chest rhythmically raised and lowered with each light breath and a few soft sighs escaped.
She could feel every small rock and twig lost in the grass pressed against the skin on her legs as she ever so slowly started to stretch, still unable to open her eyes. She could feel her heart beat from behind her eyes all the way to the back of her neck. She felt again the snuggling of a small purring cat, who meowed after each one of her sighs. She managed to open her eyes to small slits, allowing the bright rays of the sun to fill her sight. She moaned, louder and her head pounded harder the more she opened her eyes. After a few blinks her green eyes were shining in the morning sun.
With a groan, she was able to pull herself up to her elbow and look at her surroundings but saw first the little orange cat that had been trying to rouse her. He sat on her stomach and watched her carefully with his golden eyes fixed on her, as if trying to convey a message. He meowed when he saw her eyes open. She raised a hand and started to scratch the cat behind his ear in an assumed guess at what he wanted. She slowly turned her head from left to right to survey the rest of her surroundings.
The trees were full of leaves and singing birds around the small lake. She could hear the babbling of a creek down the way. The grass was a thick carpet and she could see the sun shining through the branches of the trees. It was a beautiful, secluded area of a forest.
“Where am I?” she whispered to the cat.
She sat up and the little cat jumped off her lap. She looked down and saw a plain, brown skirt bunched up to her knees and a pair of sandals lying not far from her feet. She had a few simple, metal rings on her fingers and brown leather bag wrapped across her body. The more confused she became, the greater the pain in her head grew.
“What am I wearing?” again she whispered. “What happened?” She searched desperately through the bag for a clue and found a few coins, a brush, an old key and a note that read ‘Make it home,’ in a familiar scrawl. She rubbed her forehead as she continued to look around at the damp ferns, wide eyed and confused.
“Where is home?” she questioned the little cat, whose eyes were fixated behind her.
Stiffly and slowly with trepidation, she turned around to meet what the little cat was looking at. A bird hopped through the forest floor, its feathers shining a royal blue with a long neck and a tiny head. It pecked at the brush with its beak until it found a little grub and flew to the top of a nearby tree, right as the little cat pounced at the spot that the bird used to be. She then realized, she didn’t know where the little cat had come from. She had a blurry memory of a big, black tom cat.
She stood up and walked to the water’s edge; the little cat followed her and lowered his head to drink. The water was still as a mirror in the sunshine and was clear enough to see to the smooth rocks on the bottom. She splashed some water on her face and stared at her reflection as the ripples calmed. Her raven hair fell loosely about her round face. Her green eyes looked tired, with dark circles under them, as if she hadn’t slept in some time.
She sat on the bank for a while; watching the cat and worried. Nothing felt familiar or right. She didn’t recognize