Cherry blossom petals, drifting on the breeze, caught in Angelica’s hair. She grinned but did not falter in her notes, singing the change of seasons as Drake had taught her. With the orchard full of pink blooms and the hum of bees, spring had come to the hilltop, but the dragon had told her she needed to keep singing until even the apple trees had leafed out — another month at least!
And Verena hadn’t even made a match, like she had thought. Instead, Father had sent her off to some fusty school, and Mother wouldn’t tell her why, only that they would be getting her a new tutor soon. Whatever, it gave her plenty of time to talk to Drake or to go prowling around the forest with Smoke.
Speaking of the mist cat, where had she gone? She had been lying in the sun between some of the trees, soaking up the warmth. Now she’d vanished again, disappearing like the mist she was named for. Thank goodness Angelica wasn’t as flighty as her pet.
A high-pitched sound cut across the buzz of the bees, and Angelica flinched, remembering her trip to the woods with the apples. Something had happened there, but she still didn’t know what. Maybe today, she’d talk to Drake about it. Though he’d probably just give her another song to learn.
Behind her, she heard a crunch. She whipped her head around, worried that Smoke had broken a tree limb, but instead the mist cat crouched over something at the base of a tree, her fur standing rigid all along her back. A whiff of something noxious wafted toward Angelica, and this time, she did break off her song.
A wisp of cloud blew across the sun, making her shiver momentarily.
“Smoke! Drop it.” Angelica pushed to her feet and walked toward the mist cat, hoping it wasn’t too late to rescue whatever robin or songbird had been Smoke’s prey, but the mist cat didn’t move.
Glaring at her pet, Angelica reached down, ignoring Smoke’s warning growl, and twitched something from between the mist cat’s paws. Angelica stared at the piece of blue, sort of like a crab, hard shelled. What was it? Maybe a leg or a spine? She glanced around, but saw nothing it could come from.
“Where’s the rest of it?” she asked Smoke, as though the mist cat could understand her.
Like a typical cat, Smoke sat back and started cleaning herself, completely ignoring Angelica.
Fine, then. Angelica slid the bit of shell back into her pocket. She’d talk to Drake about it later, but she knew he wouldn’t give her any answers if she didn’t finish the season song first.
My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.
And if you want to read a little more from me today, you remember when I posted the questions with Alex Fayle that I said I had some drabbles coming up there? Today’s the first one, “A Heartbeat Away.”