Misty nickered. Hold your hand up.
Finny reached out.
The tip of Misty’s horn touched Finny’s injury. Warmth spread through him. When he looked again only a slight pink stain of his blood remained. “Thank you.” With both hands, he scratched the soft muzzle that nudged him.
For the rest of the day, Mama Jack showed Finny how to take care of Misty. First they groomed her, then they cleaned the shed. Finny stayed to spread a fresh bed of straw, while she took care of the other farm animals. With daylight growing dim, Mama Jack called him into the house.
Come back tomorrow, Misty nickered. Bring Raskee with you. We’ll get started on your training. Read the second chapter of your book before our next visit.
“Huh?” My book?
Misty winked. Yes, Misty’s Magical Shed. Chapter one helps you understand Mama Jack. Chapter two will prepare you for the next lesson you must learn.
Finny climbed into bed with his book. “I’m going back to the shed,” he said.
“Yes. Tomorrow.” Mama Jack laughed.
Raskee jumped up beside Finny as soon as Mama Jack shut the door. His strong purr rumbled through the room. He nudged the book Finny pulled onto his lap.
When Finny opened the front cover Misty reared on her back haunches. Even though he’d never been around horses, Finny knew they were called haunches, because he’d read books about the four legged animals before. The unicorn pawed at the air and landed on all fours. Beside her a Pegasus chuffed. Remember chapter one? About Mama Jack.
Finny turned the page, but there were no words, only blank sheets of paper. There’d been something there before. Where’d it go? Snorting drew Finny’s attention back to the inside cover.
Misty stared at him with midnight blue eyes, as if willing him to understand. You can do nothing without imagination. Try again.
Raskee moved so his nose touched the edge of the book. Instead of a purr, a soft rumble of sound formed a single word. Believe. He nudged Finny’s hand.
The unicorn snorted. Finny opened the book again. This time more than words filled the pages. A picture of Mama Jack, at least he thought it was Mama Jack, came to life on the page. A woman with long fiery hair had her back turned to him.
“Yes Sweetie.” The soft words settled comfortably in the room. When she turned around, her eyes, the same deep blue as those of the unicorn on the inside cover, carried a twinkle of amusement. “Are you ready to learn about me? To learn about how we became special?”
“Special?” Finny didn’t feel special. He never had. Rather, he always felt weird and different. Those couldn’t be the same things. Could they?
“If you let fear stop you, you’ll accomplish nothing in life. Once you understand, you can make a better choice. Do you trust me?”
“Trust? I barely know you.” Despite the words, Finny knew he trusted his grandmother more than he had ever trusted anyone. Even his best friend, Joe Trapper, who knew some of Finny’s deepest secrets, couldn’t inspire the strong feelings that forced the breath from Finny. Maybe it was because he realized he and Mama Jack were so much alike.
“We are going home.”
“Home? But Mom and Dad said I could spend the summer. Besides, I thought I was going to learn about you.” Finny felt something about his grandmother he’d only imagined about himself. She is different, but it’s good different.