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The Bookstore…

“Look,” said Bunny, opening her eyes as wide as she could.  “Stars are in there,” she continued, pointing at herself.

“Of course there are stars in your eyes,” she said.  “We are made out of stardust.”

“I tried to tell her that,” said Joey, “but she wouldn’t listen.”

“Joey has them too,” said Bunny, staring at him, an inch from his face.

He started tickling her and she fell to the floor laughing.

“The flowers from the wedding still look perfect,” he said.

“I decided to keep them for awhile.”

“I like them,” said Joey.  “We didn’t have any plants in here and we need them.”

“Why didn’t you say something?” she asked, surprised.

“I thought you just didn’t want any.”

“Always tell me what you think,” she said lovingly.  “Never make assumptions.  Ask.”

“Okay.  I will,” he said, smiling.

“Tell me that you have ALL the Harry Potter books,” gasped a woman, half falling through the front door.

“We have all the Harry Potter books,” said Joey, staring at her.  “Are you okay?”

“I’m perfectly fine, young man, but thank you,” she said pleasantly.  “It seems that some boys still do have manners.”

“Would you like some water?” asked Bunny.  “You look really thirsty.”

“That would be lovely.”

“Would you like me to wrap the books for you?” she asked.

“Oh, goodness no.  They’re for me.  I’m moving into an apartment two doors down, and the books haven’t been delivered yet.  The Potter books were not supposed to be put into the moving van, but somehow the box they were in was picked up and packed away with everything else.  Now I have nothing to read before I go to bed.  I always read those Potter books before retiring.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read all of them.  I almost know them by heart,” she laughed, and drank the entire glass of water that Bunny handed to her. “Delicious,” she said, putting the glass down.  “Thank you.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you,” she asked.

“Yes, I want all the classic children’s stories.  The Little Prince, The Secret Garden, Peter Rabbit, The Velveteen Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland and…”

“Do you have copies of those as well?” she asked.

“Most certainly,” said the woman, taken back.

“When will your books be delivered?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Can’t you wait that long?”

“I’m not sure,” she said, frowning.  “I mean a house is not a home without books and a cat.”

“How about if I lend all the copies to you until your books are delivered.”

“You would do that for me?”

“With pleasure,” she said.  “Joey and Star will bring the books to your apartment.

“Uh,” said Joey, looking around at all the flowers blooming and growing by leaps and bounds.

“Your kindness has earned you three wishes,” said the woman, smiling, as a jungle grew around them.

“Are you a genie?” asked Joey, in amazement.

“I am indeed,” she said.  “Also knows as  a Jin.  I didn’t mean to make the flowers grow, I’m trying to blend in but sometimes I’m so happy, I just can’t help myself.  That’s why I’m having movers, you see, to blend in.  How would it look if all my things simply appeared in all the rooms?  I feel very at home in this shop.  There’s magic in this place.  A lot of it.  But I sense fairies trying to upset the balance.”

“They’re trying to steal William  and me,” said Bunny, twirling a bit.

“That will never do,” said the woman, obviously horrified.  “No.  Not at all.  This is a good place.”

“I know,” said Bunny, holding her rabbit in the air.  “This is William.”

“Very nice to meet you William,” said the woman, bowing a little.  “You’re a nice demon, aren’t you,” she said happily, patting his head.

“Can I use a wish to rid us fairies?”

“Done,” said the woman, clapping her hands.  “They won’t bother you for…,”  she said tapping her lips, with her fingers, “one hundred years, nine weeks, six days, four hours, and thirty-two minutes.  But I might be off by a year or two. I’m not very good at math.”

“You mean they’ll leave us alone?” she asked.

“I’m a GENIE, darling.  If I say they’re gone, they’re gone.  Well, actually they’ve just forgotten that all of you exist, but same thing, pretty much.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.  You have two more wishes.”

“Do we have to use them right away?”

“Use them whenever you like.  There is no expiration date,” she said, a signed contract appearing in her hand.  Just give this to me when you’re ready to wish.  That old rat looks very healthy.  Time must have stopped by.”

“She did,” said Bunny.  “She started him over.”

“Very nice of her.  Well, I must be off.  Here’s my card,” she said, dropping a thick, white, beautifully engraved business card onto the desk.  Call me anytime.  Thank you for lending the books to me.  And Joey, you don’t have to help me,” she whispered, “the books are already in my flat.”

“See you soon,”  said Bunny.

“You will,” said the Genie, as she waved goodbye.

“We get a lot of strange people in here,” said the cat, once the door was closed.

“Some of them aren’t even people,” said Joey, watching the Genie disappear.

“Does she have a bottle?” asked Bunny, looking concerned.  “She needs a bottle.”

 

 

The Booksore…

“The wedding was fun,” said Joey.

“It was,” she said smiling.

“I liked that Sandra wore her favorite outfit.  She was afraid to do it but I told her, if not now, when?”

“That was the perfect thing to say,” she said, touching the side of his face.  “And your magic is coming along beautifully.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“No,” said Joey.  “I mean thank you.   Thank you for everything, for taking all of us in and giving us homes.  Thank you for teaching us and for showing us what life can be like when people care about each other.  Thank you.”

She came from behind the counter and crushed him in an embrace.  Then she said, “I should be thanking you.  You’ve given me a family.  Dog and I have been alone for a very long time.  I think we were waiting for all of you.  Now that we’re together, I understand what being happy is all about.”

“Hug,” said Bunny, jumping off the bottom stair.  “Me too.”

A middle aged man entered the shop.  He was wearing a suit and tie and looked well groomed and expensive.  He ran his hands through his black hair and approached the counter.

“How can I help you?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he said.

“What does that mean, exactly?”

“I don’t know that either.  I suppose I came in here for a book but I don’t know which one.”

“Do you read a lot?”

“I don’t read at all.”

“Do you want to start?”

“Maybe,” he said, looking around.  “What do you suggest?”

“What are your interests?”

“I don’t have any interests?”

“Perhaps a nice cup of tea would help,” she said, pushing a scalding cup of tea toward him.

He nodded, closed his eyes, inhaled, and sighed.  “My favorite.  Earl Grey.  How did you know.”

“Lucky guess,” she said, shaking her head at the dog.  The dog rolled his eyes and stared at the man.

“Nice dog.”

“He is definitely a nice dog,” she said, leaning over to pet him.

“I like dogs.  I had a dog when I was a child.  Just a mutt, you know, but my best friend and companion.  When he died, well, I don’t think I’m over that yet.  I’ve never had another one, I’m still in mourning.”

“I understand,” she said, placing several books on dogs, next to his cup of tea.  “Perhaps reading about dogs will help you feel better and there’s a wonderful shelter two blocks down the street, full of dogs waiting to find someone to love, someone to give them a home.”

The man stared at her, his eyes glistening with tears.  “Do you think I’m ready to have another friend?”

“Only you can know that.  But think of it this way: the dog who is waiting for you, is ready for you to find him, or her.”

“I never thought about it like that,” he said softly.  “I’ll take these books, please.”

“I think you’ll enjoy them.  They are all about wonderful dogs who saved their person’s life just because they loved them.”

“Maybe I’ll stop by the shelter and say hello to the dogs.”

“That sounds like a great idea.  Ask for Maria.  She knows everything about every dog there.”

The dog walked around the counter and leaned against the man, accepting the pets and pats he offered.

The man paid for the books, picked them up and left the store.

“Some people never get over the loss of those they love,” she said.  “I think he’ll find a new companion today and then he might be able to heal.”

The dog barked and rolled onto his back.

“Oh sure, you know how to get tummy rubs, don’t you,” she said, sitting on the floor next to him.   “You know, it doesn’t matter who, or even what you love, when it’s gone the pain can last forever.”

He rolled to his side and put his head in her lap.

“I love you too,” she whispered, scratching his neck.  “So very much.”

Bookstore…opps…this one was first

“Really delicious,” said Time, taking a dainty bite out of yet another cookie.  “We don’t have wonderful treats like these where I’m from.”

“Where are you from?”

“Chicago.”

“Chicago?”

“Yes.  You’d be surprised how many of us are from there.  Everyone thinks all the magic is in New York, but that’s not true.  Chicago is the center of everything.  If you broke the country in half, it would break somewhere around the city.  That’s actually where the magic is from, But I live in between time, of course.  You know, between the seconds and milliseconds.  It’s quiet there, unless someone tries to play around with time and they don’t know what they’re doing.”

“I had no idea,” she said.

“Most people don’t realize that Chicago is a hotbed of magic.  Why do you think people kill each other there, all the time?  The magic is pushing them over the edge.  They don’t even know it exists, let along how to use it or channel it, so they don’t go mad.”

“Can’t you do something about that?”

“We’ve tried, believe me.  People just don’t pay attention, they’d rather pick up a gun.”

“I’m sorry to hear that but could we discuss my shop and the reputation you said we’re getting?”

“Well, word gets around, you know.  You’re taking in all kids of strays and that has the magical community wondering.”

“Wondering?”

“What you’re up to.”

“I’m not up to anything.”

“I can see that, but they don’t know that.”

“This is my family,” she said, sharply.

“More like an army of magically endowed beings, I’d say.”

“What are you talking about?  They’re my children.  All of them, including the rat.”

“Hmmm.  Do you know what the rat is?”

“He’s a rat and that’s good enough for me.”

“You are filled with magic, but you only see what you want to see.”

“Everyone is like that.”

The woman shook her head from side to side, then said, “That’s true, but not everyone has the amount of magic you have in your shop.  You do know that the crow is a messenger of the gods, don’t you.  He’s in constant contact with them, putting up a veil of protection around this entire building and for about a mile around you.”

“The crow?”

“Yes, the crow,” sighed Time.  “If you would just open yourself to ALL of your magic, you could see what’s going on.  Why are you holding back?”

“Meow.”

“And this one,” said Time, pointing at the cat.  “You at least know what he is don’t you?”

 

 

 

The Bookstore…

“So you’re saying that if people talk about time, you show up?”

“Don’t be silly,” laughed Time.  “Of course not.  People talk about time all the time.  I heard the need in your conversation and besides, I was curious.  As I said, you’re the talk of the town, so to speak.”

“I still don’t know why you’re here.”

“I really do want a few books, not about time necessarily, that was just a little inside humor, you know.  I want books that will amuse me and make the time go faster.”  She burst into hysterics, wiping tears from her eyes.  “I just can’t help myself,” she gasped.  “There are so many ways to fit time into conversations.”

“Indeed,” she said, flatly.

“Okay, I can see that I’m starting to wear out my welcome.  This is what you need to know.  I can push you back in time, as far as you’d like to go, so that the fairies can’t find you, or even know that you exist.  It will put you out of time, if you know what I mean.  You won’t go through that door and see what you see now.  But, I can also just move you around a tiny bit, so that you won’t be exactly here, or there, or anywhere, for that matter. Or, I can…”

“Will any of us be changed by the move?  Age wise?  If you move us back will the children still be born and the age they are now?”

“Oh, good question,” she said, merrily.  “The answer is yes, and no.  It would depend on what you choose.  I can move you far back and everyone will be the same as long as no one leaves the store.  I can move you back a little and no one will hardly notice the tiny changes that have taken place.  I could move you forward but the children wold miss part of their childhood, OR,” she said, delightedly…I could move you sideways and it that case, you would still be in this time period but simply in a different time zone but, since the fairies are everywhere, they’d find you right quick.”

“Can’t you do something to the fairies?”

“I already did, that’s why time runs so slowly where they are.  That’s why they don’t age and humans who find there way there, one way or another, don’t realize that fifty, or a hundred of their own year have passed, in what they think has only been a long weekend.”

“Here are you books,” she said.  The books suddenly appearing the table.  “Thanks for stopping by.  If we need your help, we’ll let you know.”

Time sighed.  “I thought you may not want me to do anything.  There’s only so MUCH I can do, you know.  I could stop time altogether, but what good would that do anyone?”

She didn’t say anything, just pushed the books at her and looked toward the door.

“Can I take the rest of the cookies with me?”

They were instantly wrapped in a napkin and sitting on top of the books.”

“Thank you,” said Time, walking out of the door  “It was nice chatting with you.”

The cat looked up and said, “Now you know why everything is screwed up.  She’s completely out of her gourd…but time can do that to someone.”

“She’s sane but her job makes her a little loopy,” she snickered.

“Which books did you give her?”

“The Time Traveler’ Wife, A Wrinkle in Time and Mr. Penumbras 24 Hour Bookstore.”

“Nice,” chuckled the cat.  “Perfect.”

 

The Bookstore…

The cat jumped onto his person’s lap and curled up.  She started petting him.  “He’s my cat,” she said defensively, listening to the loud purrs.

“He is that,” snickered Time.  “You’ve been together for longer than you can imagine.”

“I’m older than that,” she said, indignantly.

“I know,” said Time. “I am TIME, after all.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m here to help you defend against what’s coming your way and I’m here because you called me.”

“I didn’t call you.  We were simply discussing how time worked, or didn’t work.”

“You called me.”

***

“So tell me,” said Joey, once they were alone.  “What is William and what’s going on?”

“There’s a story, in Fairy, about a powerful witch, who had a daughter.  The daughter was even more powerful than the witch herself.  The witch knew that everyone would want her daughter, because of her incredible power, so she came here, to this reality, to raise her and protect her.  It wasn’t long before everyone began to look for her so, she made a guardian to watch over her.  She put the guardian into William, but no one knows that part of the story.   She then cast a powerful forgetting spell on the child herself, to dull her magic and hide her from those who would imprison her, using her magic for their own ends.  She did all she could to keep her safe, and then she left her here and ran, leaving clues behind, so that others would follow her and never find her child.  I think that child is Bunny.”

“But isn’t that just a story?”

“I think it’s a story about Bunny and William.”

“Caw.”

“Crow,” said Star.  “Is it true?”

The bird flew to his outstretched arm, walked up and down, back and forth, for a few seconds, then looked directly at him and nodded.

“Wow,” said Joey.

“William wasn’t made to be regular demons.  He’s not like them.  He has a single purpose and he understands love.”

“And what about you, Star.  What are you?”

“I used to be a normal boy,” he said, sadly.  “A horrible wizard took me from the playground and put me into a cage.  He…taught me things…magical things.  He said I was more than I knew, but that he could see through me.  I didn’t know what he was talking about but I did seem to be able to do things, once he forced me to try.   I learned a lot.  I learned things I would have been happier not knowing, to be honest.  One day he told me I had to do something bad to someone else.  I refused.”

“So he turned you into a Troll?”

“No.  He beat me.”

“I’m sorry,” said Joey.

“He beat me for a week,” said Star softly.  “When he realized that I would never do as he asked…”

“He had you turned into a Troll.”

Star nodded.

Joey held out his hand.  “Welcome home, brother.”

Star took Joey’s hand and held it.  “Thank you,” he whispered.

 

The Bookstore…A tiny story

Everyone ran upstairs to lay on the floor and look at the sky, while the two women talked, over lovely cups of Mandarin Orange tea, and delicious cookies.

“This is outstanding,” said Joey, petting the dog.

“It’s so beautiful,” whispered Bunny.  “William likes it as well.”

“Bunny,” said Star.  “You know what William is, don’t you?”

Joey sat up.

“He’s my best friend,” said Bunny, happily.

“He’s a demon, Bunny.”

“So?”

“He’s dangerous.”

“Not to any of us,” she said.  “He loves us, don’t you William.”

“Can I talk to him?”

“Sure,” said Bunny.  “William, this is Star, he’s a good friend and he may even be another brother, like Joey is.  So, you be polite and tell him what he wants to know, okay?”  The rabbit nodded and she handed him to Star.

“Hi, William.  I’m Star and I just wanted to know how you came to be with Bunny.”

William’s eyes turned red and he telepathically said,  “I told told Joey, I was made to guard her.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean?” asked William, obviously confused.

“What does she need to be guarded against?”

William was silent, then finally said, “I don’t know.  I just know that I am to keep her safe.”

“Are you a good demon?”

“I think so.”

“Would you protect all of us, now that we are family?”

“If I could.  Bunny has to tell me to do so.”

“So, you can only act upon her command?”

“She doesn’t command me to do things, she just asks, or tells me to do things.  But yes,  I can only act if she needs me, unless I see danger and she is unable to speak to me.  Then I can do what I must, to protect her.”

“I’m very happy to know you, William.  I trust you and I would like to be your friend.”

“That is possible, unless you try to hurt Bunny.”

“I would never do that.”

“I’m happy to hear that.  Do you have anymore questions?”

“Yes.  Who do you answer to?”

“I don’t understand?”

“Do you report to anyone?  Do you get orders from anyone?”

“I do not.”

“So you are on your own?”

“I am.”

“Who gave you to Bunny?”

William was silent again.  After a long pause, he said, “I do not know but it was someone who loved her very much.”

Star nodded.  “Thank you William.”

“You’re welcome.  Please give me back to Bunny.”

Joey stared at Star, while Bunny hugged William and covered him with kisses.

“Do you know something?” asked Joey.

“Maybe,” he said.  “I think so.”

***

“Delicious cookies, and the tea, oh, my DEAR, just wonderful,” said Time, reaching for another handful of the chocolate goodness.

“I’m glad you like everything but I’m still not sure why you’re here,” she said.

“Well, your Bookstore is getting quite the reputation, isn’t it,” she said, taking a sip of tea, closing her eyes and just savoring the moment.”

“What exactly, do you mean?”

 

 

The Bookstore…A tiny story

“It’s getting a tad crowded in here, ” she said, looking at all the people around the table.

Joey laughed and Bunny smiled at him.

The dog wagged his tail and the crow bobbed up and down.  Everyone, it seemed, agreed that it was definitely getting crowded.

“I’ll just add a third floor and push out the back a bit,” she said, closing her eyes.  When she opened them, she grinned.  “Bunny, I put a skylight in the ceiling so you can all look at the sky whenever you like.  There are enough rooms up there for you, Joey, Star and anyone else who would like to be up high.”

Everyone clapped their hands together and thanked her.  Star hugged her and asked it he might live with them.  “I thought you already were,” she said, running her hand down the side of his face.

“The fairies are still gone,” said Joey, happily.

“I know how to get into fairy,” said Star, frowning.  “It’s beautiful there, but nothing is as it seems.  It dangerous and time runs differently there.”

“Sounds like here,” said Joey, “except for the time part.”

“Time is elastic,” said Star, softly.  “It’s not what you think it is.  It runs in many directions, or not at all.”

They all looked at him.

“He’s right,” said the cat.  “Even here, in this reality, time has you all fooled.  You measure it, count it, wear it, and have clocks everywhere, but time is not what you think it is.”

“Um, EXCUSE ME,” said the tiny woman.  “Are you open?”

“We are indeed,” she said, walking to meet her.  “How can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a book on…time.”

“What kind of book?  I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”

The rat leapt from his box and ran to the woman.

“Well, aren’t you a sweet one,” she said, picking him up and shoving him into her huge purse.”

“Excuse me,” she said, staring at the woman.  “The rat is not for sale.”

“Oh, I know that,” laughed the woman, dragging the rat out of her purse.  “It’s just that he was nearing the end of his life.  Rats only live about two years, you know, so I reset his biological clock and now, he’s just like new.”

The rat was radiant.  His fur was glossy and thick, his nose pink and his eyes alert and filled with wonder.  When the woman put him back on the floor he ran to his friends who cheered and gave him a big piece of cheese.

“How did you do that?”

“Well, you did call me, didn’t you?”

“Call you?”

“I’m TIME, my dear.  Weren’t you just discussing me?”

 

The Bookstore…a Tiny Story

Aside from the occasional grunt, the troll sat quietly and ate several whole cakes.  Bunny smiled at him to show that it was okay to eat as much as he liked. The sisters decided to leave, after agreeing to a book signing party, and Sandra hugged everyone, well not the troll, although she did pat his shoulder a bit, and left with them.  The troll tried to smile and wave at everyone, because Bunny said that was the thing to do.

The dog was asleep on the chair, and the cat was curled up with him.  The crow was still eating and the rat fell onto his side and wrapped his tail around himself before nodding off.  Joey picked him up and placed him gently in his bed, then covered him with a soft washcloth, that doubled as a blanket.

“Bunny,” she said, “what do you plan on doing with your new troll friend.

“Keep him,” she said patting the troll.  “He’s nice and he doesn’t have anywhere to go.”

“I can’t make him small forever and he’s too big to live here with us.”

“How long will he be little?” asked Bunny, making William dance on the table.

“Twenty-four hours, maybe thirty.”

“I can fix him,” said Bunny.

Star, the troll, looked at her and made a small noise.

“You can?” she asked.  “How?”

“Like this,” Bunny said, touching the troll’s chest..

“Thank you,” he said,  “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“Star was a boy,” said Bunny.  “He just looked like a troll.”

“I can see that,” she said.  “Who spelled you?”

“A fairy,” said Star, who was sprawled on the floor.  “I’m so tired.”

“Now can he stay?” asked Bunny.  “He’s not too big anymore.”

“Sure,” she sighed. “Why not.”

The Bookstore, A tiny story

The reporter signaled the camera person and three seconds later they were live.

“I’m standing in front of a very small bookstore, located between two very large buildings.  There was a lot of trouble here, earlier this evening.  Apparently, the shop was attacked by…fairies,” she said, staring at the camera person.  “Wait, there must be some mistake,” she said, looking around.  “Is this a joke?  Fairies?” she repeated, pulling her earpiece out and shoving it in her pocket.  “Go to commercial,” said the reporter, waving her hand in front of the lens.

“Do you think they’re gone?” asked Joey?  “The fairies, I mean.”

“For now,” she said, cutting the luscious looking chocolate cake.

“How did you get them to leave?”

“I cast a forgetting spell on them, so they couldn’t remember why they were here.  It will only last for thirty-six hours, but I’ll have something better waiting for them when they return,” she said, smiling.

“Oh, look William,” said Bunny, holding up the rabbit.  “Chocolate.”

Everyone went to the table and settled down.  The sisters walked in and joined them.

“We love chocolate cake and lemonade,” they said.

Sandra stopped by and told everyone when the wedding was to take place.  She pulled up a chair and helped herself to cake.  “Looks amazing,” she said, sliding a fork full, into her mouth.  She closed her eyes and groaned.  “Beyond delicious,” she moaned.

Everyone chatted and talked about the wedding and honeymoon plans.  The sisters were excited about their book being published and things were going along in the most lovely manner, until…

The doorway was filled from top to bottom, side to side, with the largest man, any of them had ever seen and collectively, they had seen a lot.  He grunted and pointed to Bunny.  “Mine.”

The sisters stood up but Bunny touched each of their shoulders, as she brushed past them, and they sat down again.

“Why do you want me?” asked Bunny, doing a few dance steps.

“Magic,” he said.

“Are you a troll?”

“Think so,” he said, his hands dragging on the floor.

“Would you like some cake?”

The troll stared at her.  “Cake?”

“Yes, we’re all having cake and lemonade.  Would you care to join us?”

The troll nodded and tried to sit on the floor but his legs hit everything around him.

“Would you like to be our size while you eat?” she asked, moving next to Bunny.

The troll stared at them, then held up his hand and with his thumb and forefinger he made a gesture that said, ‘this big?’

“I can make you our size,” she said.

The troll nodded and immediately shrunk down to the size of a young man.  He held out his arms, bent down and looked at his feet and legs and then made a strange sound that everyone thought was laughter.  Bunny walked up to him and took his hand.  She led him to the table and gave him a big slice of cake and a large glass of lemonade.  The troll picked up the cake with his hand and shoved it into his mouth.  He made small noises and closed his eyes, then he grinned.  “Good,” he said.

“What’s your name?” asked Bunny, after introducing everyone at the table.

“Star,” he said.

“Star?” asked Joey, surprised.  “I thought all you guys had names like Gog, or Ruk.”

“Star,” he said, pointing to himself.

“More cake?” asked Bunny.

Star nodded, then got himself a chair and sat at the table with everyone else.

 

The Bookstore…A tiny story…about fairies, sisters, mayhem and murder

“Bunny,” she said, siting across from the girl.  “I’d like to try something.”

“What,” asked Bunny, chewing on William’s ear.

“It’s like a game.  You close your eyes and listen to what I say.  Then I ask you some questions and you might be able to remember what happened to you before you lived in the alley.  We don’t have to do it, if you would rather not.  But, if you want to know if you’re a real princess, this is one possible way to find out.”

“I don’t care if I’m a princess.  I like it here with you, Joey and my friends.  I don’t care what happened before.”

“Okay, if that’s how you feel, we won’t play that game. I’ll get you some chocolate cake and lemonade, instead.”

Bunny smiled and did a little dance, holding William out in front of her.

“She said no, didn’t she,” asked Joey, a little while later.

“Yes.  Bunny doesn’t care about her past, or she doesn’t want to remember it, either way, the subject is closed.  At least for now.”

Joey stared at her. “You said you would help me find out what kind of magic I can do.  I’m ready to learn.”

“Wonderful.  Let’s start this very moment,” she said happily.  “We will begin by talking about what you already know you can do.  So, what have you noticed in the past, that others can’t do, but you can?”

He looked down and concentrated.  “I don’t know what other people can do,” he finally said.

“Of course your don’t.  How silly of me,” she laughed.  “Just tell me what you can do.”

The dog walked up to Joey and put his head on his lap.  Joey started petting him and started to relax.  “Well, sometimes I know what’s going to happen before it happens, and sometimes I think I know what other people are thinking, and sometimes, I can touch something and I know where it’s been.”

“Wait,” she said.  “Have you ever touched William?”

“Yes, a couple of times.”

“But you felt nothing?”

“He was just a stuffed toy and I wasn’t thinking about touching him.  I just held him, or part of him, while I was talking with Bunny.”

“Do you think you could learn something by holding him for a reason?”

“I don’t know.  I can try.”

“Good enough, so continue.”

“I know how people feel.  Whether they’re afraid, happy or sad.”

“Can you do any of the things I do?”

He started laughing.  “No.”

“I think you can do other things, things you don’t know about.  If you agree, we can start lessons tomorrow.  After dinner, for one hour.  How does that sound?”

Joey stood up, waking the dog, and threw himself into her arms.  “You’re the best mother, ever,” he said.  Then he turned and ran up the stairs.

“Well,” she said to the dog, while she straightened her blouse, “That seemed to go well, don’t you think?

Two ladies came into the store, they looked exactly alike.  They walked to the counter and smiled.

“Hello,” they said.

The one who wore her hat pushed forward turned to the other and said, “Dearest, please, let me speak.  It’s so difficult for others to understand us when we both say the same thing at the same time.  You can talk to the next person, okay?”

The second woman nodded and smiled.

“We are identical twins, but you probably already know that.  We looked more alike when we were younger but still, here we are.”

“How can I help you?” she asked, positively charmed by the sisters.

“Dearest,” she said to the silent sister, holding out her hand.

The silent one placed a package on the counter.

“We have written a book,” she said.  “There aren’t enough books about twins on the market, so we took the liberty of writing one ourselves. Now, before you jump to any conclusions, this is no ordinary story.  You see my sister and I,” she paused to look at her sister, “were spies for the CIA.  We were undercover, of course, but the people we dealt with couldn’t tell us apart, and because of that, we were able to do certain things that one person could not and, if I may say…”

“Tell her Love,” said the silent sister.

“We did wet work, but no one could ever catch us, because we always had an alibi.”

“You mean you were hitwomen for the government?”

“Indeed we were.”

“How absolutely wonderful!” she said.  “Ladies.  If you will permit me to read your book, and it goes well, I will publish it for you and sell it in my shop.  All of the proceeds will go directly to you.”

“We would like twenty-percent to go the the cat and dog shelter on Washington.”

“They take lizards too,” said the silent sister.

“Easily done,” she said.  “I can’t wait to begin reading.  What an amazing life you must have had.”

“You should have see our clothes,” said the woman, dreamily.  “We were beautiful, once.  Tall, slender, tight red dresses. Oh, my dear.  Men fell all over themselves to be with us.”

“They did,” sighed the silent sister. “Some women too.”

It was so easy to dispose of them.”

“Indeed,” said the silent sister, longingly.  “We had such fun, parties every night, dancing, drinking, choosing lovers, getting new assignments, traveling the world.”

“A dream job, most definitely,” said the woman.  “All the weapons, especially the knives.  Such craftsmanship.”

“Don’t forget the poisons, Love,” snickered the silent sister.

“You’re right, Dearest.  The poisons were wonderful and they never suspected us,” said the woman. Why would they?  We were never seen together.  When the bodies were found, one of us had always been in plain sight.”

They both laughed. “No one can be in two places at once,”  said the silent sister.

“So, here is our card,” said the woman.  Please call us when you have finished reading.

“We still take the odd job, you know.  We freelance,” whispered the silent sister.   “It’s difficult to give up work you love.  But it’s not the same.  We’re still remembered, of course, at least in certain circles, but we’re no longer young, fast, or beautiful.  That’s what life takes from all of us, you know.  They say older women are still beautiful, but that’s just talk.  Nothing is the same, is it Love?”

She unwrapped the packaged and looked at the thick manuscript.  “Jane and Janet?”

“I’m Jane,” said the woman.

“I’m Janet,” said the silent sister, but you knew that already, didn’t you, seeing as how there are only two of us and she identified herself first.”

They all chuckled.

“Well, we’ll be gong then,” said the sisters.

“One more thing,” said the silent sister.  “You have a pretty big fairy problem. We saw them in the tree out in front, and on the rooftops.  We can help you with that, if you like.”

“How very generous.  I’ll keep that in mind.  Thank you.”

The two sisters nodded and left the store, chatting at the same time.

The cat jumped onto the counter and stared at the door.  “I like those two,” he said.  “They’re cool.  I bet they keep cats.”

The crow flew in through the upstairs window, glided down the stairs, and landed on the back of the chair.  “Fairies everywhere,” he cawed.  “Thick as thieves.”

 

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