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Lucy slowly stirred from sleep like every other morning. She languidly stretched and blinked her eyes against the twinkling dust shining in the sunlight. Lounging and stretching again, she finally deigned to leave her bed for breakfast. As usual, she relaxed for a spell on the veranda before finally sauntering around the corner for her routine stroll.
The crisp, autumn air tickled her nose with the faint scent of decay. Lucy took a deep breath as she glanced around her familiar path. The trees still wore many brilliantly coloured leaves – gowns set aflame by the rising sun – but a stormy night had crushed and mulched enough foliage to leave an earthy note on the wind.
Suddenly, an unfamiliar sound caught her ear. It was a peculiar lilting call. Lucy knew every bird song, every animal call, in these woods and this new voice belonged to none of them. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and rolled her shoulders before trotting toward this new melody. Pausing only briefly to get a better listen, she strayed from her usual path without fear.
Deeper into the forest, with ferns tickling at her heel, Lucy abruptly halted at the edge of a pond. Touching one delicate toe to the water’s surface, she watched the ripple expand and distort her reflection. After a few quick blinks, she realised the singing had stopped. Looking up, Lucy spotted a most peculiar figure.
Sunbathing on a fallen log, her long silky hair, her creamy skin, even her silvery fishtail, reflected the sun in a dazzle of colours. Her mouth still gaped, like a fish out of water, but the musical voice that followed could only belong to the mysterious minstrel.
“Oh,” she smiled politely, “Hello there, stranger. Since you have found me this morning, I will grant you one wish.”
“I desire nothing, fair singer,” Lucy sniffed, “My curiosity has been satisfied.” Spinning around with a swish of her fluffy tail, she headed back toward her traditional morning route.
The singer smiled after the cat and watched her vanish into the brush.
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