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The leaf skittered across the empty suburban street. Fall was a couple of weeks off, but this one had jumped early.
Old Lady Grieves was coming home from her baby sitting job and wasn't looking forward to a night of grading her 5th graders spelling tests. She also didn't like baby sitting, but her car needed a new muffler. And she didn't need another ticket for a moving violation.
Another leaf danced across her path and suddenly it seemed like an army of leaves whipped past her ankles. The temperature dropped, causing her to snuggle deeper into her hoodie.
The black cat was swept off of the large SUV to her right. It hissed in fear and she could smell it from ten feet away. She told herself it was the cold as she picked up her pace. She wished she had worn her Doc Martins instead of the cowboy boots, but the Madsen twins liked playing wild west.
The black cat brushed her aside as it streaked past. Virgina, she couldn't bear to call herself 'Old Lady Grieves', not at 32, felt a palatable force as the cat pushed past.
The cold tendrils that whipped the wind started to caress the back of her neck. Strange, she thought, shouldn't the hoodie block the wind?
She heard a melody start up from in front of her - probably some kids playing ping-pong in a garage. It took her a bit, that American History elective course had been over 12 years ealier, but she thought it strange that teenagers would be listening to Sea shanties from the 19th century.
The cat stopped, arched its back, and started to growl. It wasn't a hiss or the roar of a lion, it was the sound of a wounded bear.
The headlights of a passing car blinded her for just a moment. As her vision cleared, the cat was the size of small pony, the ones that kids rode at those pumpkin stalls at Halloween.
The growl was a warble now - the thing's throat must be raw.
She was rooted to the spot. Her body was screaming at her to run, but her thoughts were captured by the sight in front of her.
A lightening flash caught her attention, it had hit off to her right. She braced for the thunder, but it never arrived.
The growl was now a crooning, gentle and soothing. She turned back to the cat, but now it was a woman, pale in the moonlight. The rays were ensared by her white flowing tresses - they were strangled and shrouded her in a cloak of blackness.
She glided closer to Virgina, and even though her mind was now in agreement with her body, she was rooted to the spot. The crooning matched the Sea shantie in the background, no, now it was the source of the Sea shantie.
The eyes were a pale green and over a refined nose. But, there wasn't a mouth. It wasn't the case that there was a hole or that the mouth was invisible. The skin just flowed smoothly where the mouth should have been - in fact, Virgina would swear that the lady was grinning.
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