A noise blared through the open window. “Wh…what?” Finny rubbed his eyes.
“That’s just the rooster telling you it’s time to get up. You don’t want to sleep the day away.” Mama Jack stood in the doorway. “Come on down as soon as you’re ready. I have breakfast cooking.” She didn’t give him time to argue. Instead she pulled the door closed behind her. The tap of her heels retreated down the staircase.
Once Finny washed his face and brushed his teeth, he made his way to the kitchen. The smell of bacon cooking brought a long low growl from his stomach.
“There you are. Get some food for your cat out of that container. I have bacon and eggs ready for you.” Mama Jack winked. “Do you want toast or pancakes?”
“Toast please.” The breakfast Mama Jack cooked tasted better than anything he’d ever eaten.
Raskee ate what Finny had scooped for him, and meowed his appreciation.
“So what do you want to do today?” Across the table, Mama Jack crunched a crisp piece of bacon. “We could go down to Misty’s Magical Shed.”
Finny inhaled. A small piece of bacon went down his windpipe. “Misty’s Magical Shed?” he coughed out the words.
Raskee jumped on the chair.
“I think you’ll like it. And Misty might have a friend who will let you ride him.” Mama Jack squinted. “You do know how to ride, don’t you?”
“A horse?” Finny couldn’t help that his eyebrows lifted.
“You might say that. You’ll have to tell me when you see them.”
“I…I’ve never tried before.”
“Not even a little one?” Disbelief shaded her words.
“No.” Had he really come all this way to fall off the back of a beast?
“I think you’ll like Misty.”
“D…do I have to ride her?” Finny didn’t want to die this far from home.
“No, sweetie. You can’t ride her anyway.”
Why can’t I? Now he really was confused.
If Mama Jack understood his feelings, she didn’t react to them. Instead she continued to chatter away. “We need to groom her and get her shed cleaned. Now let me see. Those clothes won’t do.” She left the room. When she came back she carried a duffle bag.
“Where’d you get that?” There couldn’t be clothes in there that would fit him–or could there? Stranger things had happened since he’d started his journey.
Mama Jack pulled a pair of worn jeans and a red plaid shirt out. “Your father wore these when he was as old as you are now.” She shrugged. “Maybe he was a little older. He always was small for his age. Hurry. Misty won’t like it that we made her wait. Go on. Change in your room and get back down here. I’ll find some gloves for us.”
Finny took the clothes and went upstairs. When he put them on, everything, including the rubber boots, fit as if they were made for him.
Meow. Raskee, who had followed him, jumped on the bed. Before Finny could stop him, the cat pounced on the bedside table. That was where Finny had left his book. The top cover rattled, as if someone… or something pounded against the inside.
“I don’t have time to read now.” Finny went to the door. “Raskee, you stay here.” With that, Finny shut the door and went down the stairs.