“Oh dear.” Mama Jack pulled her shirttail out of her jeans. With the care only a grandmother knows, she pressed the clothe against his hand, careful not to put any pressure on the sliver.
Misty nickered. Hold your hand up.
Finny’s hand tremble. His finger hurt and besides, he didn’t know what to expect.
“It’s alright sweetie,” said Mama Jack.
He held his hand out.
The tip of Misty’s horn touched Finny’s injury. Warmth spread through his hand. When he looked again only a slight pink stain of his blood remained. “Thank you.” 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 Mama Jack took care of the other farm animals. With daylight growing dim, they returned to the house.
Come back tomorrow, Misty nickered. Bring Raskee with you. We’ll get started on your training. Mirri will be here then. I want you to meet her. Until then, read the second chapter of my book.
“Huh?” Your book?
Misty winked and a sparkle of light twinkled in her eyes. 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 can’t wait to go back to the shed,” he said.
“You will. 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 rubbed against the book Finny had pulled onto his lap.
Once again, when the front cover of the book opened, Misty reared on her back haunches. He’d learned they were called haunches from books he’d read about creatures large and small during evenings when mama and daddy had argued in the other room. It was the only way he could block out the anger they threw at each other and the fear their words brought to him.
He forced himself to concentrate on the inside page. The unicorn pawed at the air and landed on all four hooves. On her back sat an almost translucent girl. Her body was stiff and a soft sheen of material flowed around her and down Misty’s back. Beside them a winged horse chuffed. Remember chapter one? About Mama Jack?
Finny’s hands trembled. He turned the page, but there were no words or pictures, only blank sheets of cream colored paper. There’d been something there before. Where’d they go? Snorting drew Finny’s attention back to the inside cover.
Misty stared at him with her soft, midnight blue eyes. They seemed to will him to understand. Without imagination you can’t do anything. Try again.
Raskee moved so his nose touched the edge of the binding. Instead of a purr, a soft rumble of sound formed a single word. Believe. He nudged Finny’s hand.
The unicorn snorted again. The pages fanned as if a gentle breeze encouraged them to move along. 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. Mama Jack 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?”
“Me? 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 when he thought of her. 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 this time he was sure, it’s a good difference.