Maven perched on the rail of the bridge across the dam of the mill pond. The gibbous moon stared back at her through the stark tree branches, only a day before full. She’d spent two weeks here, and hadn’t found a single wish to be granted, even if she had gotten her powers back. Two more weeks and it would be out of her hands. She’d live out her life as a cat.
If she were a cat, she’d never have to be told that she was not “doing it right.” She could do as she pleased, eat, sleep, play, all with no responsibilities, not even to clear the mill of the mice. There were too many of them anyway, and they were clearly used to overwhelming a lone cat, with the magical help of their queen. If Queen Panya had not called off her minions, Maven would be dead.
She did an inventory of the places the mice had bitten her, licking each one clean. Did her cat spit have built-in antibiotics? She hoped so. The mouse queen had not killed her, only made a show of her power. That was a clue.
She began to see why Big Mama and Queen Panya might live their lives as fairies in disguise, but they had chosen to live in their own stories, while Maven had been put here as punishment. Or maybe it was a test.
She licked her paw, wiping it across her face, which helped her clear her mind.
Maven had often given up or given in to authority before she came to Faery. She had wished, even demanded, to be a fairy godmother doing things her own way, and that wish had been granted. She hadn’t given up her wings, her wand or even her gossamer, though she could not figure out how to use them.
One thing for sure, the witch knew where she was, and was probably cackling to herself even at this moment, watching through the all-seeing crystal ball.
Maven laid her ears back at the thought. Surely she wasn’t the only cat in the neighborhood–the mice in the mill could not have killed them all. Somewhere, maybe in the village, there were other cats, and while they would not like her being in their territory, she might learn something from them. For once she’d play along, give it her all.
She jumped down from the rail and trotted across the bridge to the road. At the very least, the witch would get a show.
Special thanks to “Mr. Mac” Doug McAbee for permission to use this image. See more of his work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrmac09/