Danielle was walking down the street when something caught her eye

on

A massive white cat made a beeline for the little blond girl. Its fur was
long and spiky with black eyes like a cat who was on the hunt. It was a mane
of long white hair and it stood over six feet tall. It did not have an
expression of fear on its face, and it did not have a tail. It had no ears or
a body attached to a tail, just long, fluffy white hair. It was wearing a
tunic of some kind of green.

Danielle moved as quickly as she could. She did not try to attack the cat. It
would bite her hands or her feet and she had no doubt it would catch her. She
just turned and ran.

“You’re too late, Carson,” she said, her voice like a whisper.

It looked at her with its eyes that were like bright green jewels.

“We should have known,” it said.

“You made it so easy.” It looked around.

“Danielle?” she called out.

“Yes.”

“Your hair is so beautiful. It is like a field of wind-blown pine needles.”

She kept walking, trying to catch up with it.

“I will never be able to find you again.”

“I have found you. I will never be separated from you again.”

“No, I meant here. You are in the past.”

“No, I mean here. You said you were in the past. It’s not a real place.”

“I am in a dream.”

It walked toward her. She was still a little shocked that it was so tall and
blonde, but it was still tall.

“I’m so sorry. I am so sorry.” She had never told anyone else what was
happening to her or how she felt about it. She could not tell the knights in
the walls the truth, either.

“No. I’m sorry for the pain and humiliation I put you through,” it
said.

“I am only human after all. I am only a human.”

“You are not only human. I am in a dream just like I am this moment.
You know when someone tells you they are in a dream, it does not mean they
are dreaming. You are in a dream just like I am this moment.”

She knew it was wrong. Her head was in a knot.

“You know that’s not true,” she said.

It did not move or change. Its expression remained the same.

“Then how do you explain this?” she asked.

It put its hand on her shoulder.

“It is over. You are here.”

“My father is dead. We are going to be married. My mother is dead. We are
going to be with my father. I am in a dream. My mother was supposed to die.
Why wouldn’t you be in a dream and be married? It’s just a simple, happy
story we tell ourselves to believe we are not real. Is that okay,” she asked
it.

“The story you know is far more difficult. I cannot tell you how to change
how you feel about it. However, I can tell you how to change how you think.
You should never give up hope on yourself. If life is going to be what you
think it is, you will always be a girl who wishes you were more. You can be
anything you want when you put in a little bit of extra effort. You’ve put in
a lot. And it shows in how you live. I’m sorry for the suffering you have
endured. You are not the most important thing in the world. Don’t forget to
be thankful for the little things in your life.”

Danielle did not know what to say and her voice faltered.

“You’ve done nothing wrong. You are strong and independent and not
crippled by what happened to you. You are strong enough not to put up with
the pain every day, but you are strong enough not to live a lie.”

Danielle didn’t know whether to cry or be angry with it. It was just so
beautiful to see it tell her that she was not the only girl in this world
being forced to be her mother.

“I am not sure how you found me, but I will be forever grateful,” she
said.

“I never said I found you. I said I found you, you just didn’t realize it.”

“Maybe I don’t want to. I wish I didn’t have to.”

“You shouldn’t. You should just accept it. The only real story here is
that you are happy. Everyone who asks, they are looking for a happy happy
story. Don’t give up hope.”

“What if you are a dream?”

“I will always be in your heart and heartache.”

Danielle looked at it, its hair and eyes, at its green eyes, at its long
muscular legs, and felt so sad that it had almost killed her mother.

“Thank you,” she said. She would keep wishing it had been her mother she
had killed instead of her.

“I am not just its hair. It is its blood.”

“I know that now.”

The cat spoke as it walked closer. It raised its left arm and put its hand
in its mouth.

“I thought you were strong and brave. You would have been so helpful
during the siege.”

“There was more than just the siege. I also had to fight someone who was
not human. I had to learn that they always want what they can’t have.”

“I’ll keep telling you that story.”

“Why do you do that?”

“Because I think you will need to believe it, and I want you to know that
I will never forget that. I will have to explain things to my mother, and I
will have to tell her that she is a coward and a heartless child who took
what little love I had.”

“You sound like my father.”

“My father is not a coward, he is dead.”

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