Leondra stood her ground and let her teacher consider the contents of her gift.

“Fairy bread.” Farhana held it up for Leondra to inspect. “Eat.”

Leondra took it, hesitating a few moments more to see exactly what it was. The colourful nature of the bread was due to the multicoloured sprinkles which littered its surface. She took a bite and forced herself to swallow.

“Sugar, sugar.”

They both ate their piece of bread, similarly methodical. Perhaps it was too sweet for either of them.

However, unlike Leondra, Farhana made a point to eat all of the fairy bread except for one. Then she determined their lesson for the day over. With only one piece inside of her, Leondra agreed. Perhaps it wasn’t that sugary, but she certainly didn’t eat that much sugar normally.

She could only imagine how Farhana had managed it.


Farhana’s birthday came in the middle of the week. Leondra only knew about it because the woman’s wife had shown up to drop something off. Farhana was busy and her wife didn’t even call out to let her know she was here, simply leaving the package there for when she noticed.

Leondra didn’t even know it was her wife until she gave out the description of who had stopped by.

Farhana waved it off. “I knew it was Michèle. My wife.”

Nodding, Leondra tried not to be too interested in the contents of the package. Farhana didn’t seem to be in any hurry to open it. “Does she come by often?”

“Only on my birthday. Guns too loud for her.”

“Well wishes,” came out of her mouth immediately. Not to wish someone so on their birthday was an insult. It had made for a very interesting school year, especially around those who didn’t mention when their birthday was, for whatever reason they held.

And much like some of them, Farhana waved it off, taking the box to the shop counter. There it was opened.

Step by step

Her instructor didn’t look the part. Farhana obviously couldn’t see very well, though she took off her glasses for practice.

“Whatever you do, know what it is you point at. Know what lies beyond it.”

Leondra knew the one thing she wasn’t going to learn from Farhana was to see. Her hearing and sense of smell wouldn’t be able to match the older woman with close cropped hair and keratin scaling showing down her neck, so she had to focus with her sight.

“You hold too tight. Firm is good. Stiff is bad.”

Leondra practiced until she tired.

“No more concentration? We are done for now.”

With a sigh, Leondra knew this was going to take her a long, long time. Farhana was no nonsense, but patient. She knew what her sister would say. Everything worth doing was worth doing well. Anything worth doing well was worth spending time on.

Leondra took lessons from Farhana for eight years.

Birthday letters

Apparently her sister had picked up a new habit from where she lived now.

You send a letter on someone’s birthday, even if you barely know them! People get mountains of cards on their birthday, it’s amazing!

Usually she called. There was the occasional gift that was sent. In fact, Leondra was used to cards being involved on birthdays as well. A few, from people she couldn’t see on the day, from those who weren’t sure if they could call, for those who wanted to make sure their packages had instructions.

Her sister had apparently asked everyone she knew to write someone they didn’t know a letter. Leondra rubbed her temple.

She had a lot of reading to do.

The one regular human being

The gift she received for her sixteenth birthday was a rifle. Leondra had considered the implications with a degree of separation.

Her father had given up on her showing any instincts of the beast. Goodness knew that her mother had already done so. Her sister said it happened. Plenty of people in the world didn’t have it. This family always did though. Hunters, the lot of them. With nails as good as claws and teeth to bite and eyes which were always feline in quality, let alone appearance.

Leondra had inherited some of the appearance, though in a completely human-looking way. The gun was her father’s way of saying there were other ways to hunt.

She accepted this wholeheartedly.

No one in her family knew how to shoot, so she decided to teach herself. That lasted three weeks before she decided she needed someone with some knowledge in the procedure to teach her some of the basics. There were things she could suss out. But considering the power suddenly in her hands, she decided this wasn’t something to mess around with.

Time to find someone who knew what they were doing.


“Where are you going?” Leondra asked her sister as the older girl packed her suitcase.

Her sister grinned at her, showing all of those teeth she was ever so proud of. “A place where I can hunt. Predators are meant to hunt.”

Leondra frowned. “You can’t do that here?”

“Not like I will be able to.” Closing her suitcase, they both had to sit on it to shut it completely. Her sister hugging Leondra close to her side. “You’ll have to visit. Bring dad, he’ll love it.”

“You mean have dad bring me, because mom still can’t believe you won’t be around.”

“I’m not dead.” Her sister rolled her eyes. “Leondra, decide what you want and then work for it. If you don’t, you won’t get anywhere but where life washes you up to and that might not be where you want to be.”

“Don’t try to give me life lessons. You’re not too much older than me.”

Leondra’s sister chuckled. “Older enough, kitten. Help me drag this downstairs.”

“If you need help moving this, you aren’t going to get very far away,” Leondra complained.

With a laugh, they both shoved the suitcase down the stairs.