Chicken bones and cranberries

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Together at last

Freed by the werewolf, Stella ran as fast as she could into the dark forest, pursued by the witch’s loyal familiar, Rochester. The raven pecked Stella, hurting her and pulling thick shreds of her hair with his terrible beak. Bloody and weak, the dog was losing her breath and ready to give up any moment.
The help came unexpectedly. Two large eyes, burning green and golden, appeared in the dark. “Leave the dog alone!” hissed Philip, for it was he.
“Why? The witch needs it,” responded Rochester, oblivious[1] to the fact that the witch was gone for good. “Free the dog,” insisted Philip. His teeth glistened in the light of the full moon. “Not a chance,” the raven tightly held Stella with his claws.
Philip prepared to attack the bird; he stepped back to give himself a little space for a big leap. Suddenly, Rochester noticed a familiar warm glow; it was the magic ball of yarn rolling out of a grove of young birches. “Look there!” exclaimed the bird.
Three dark figures followed closely after the magic ball. Stella immediately knew who it was, – her family! Jack, Lisa and their new friend Jezebel were almost there to save her. Relieved and excited about the approaching rescue, Stella pulled forward with unbelievable strength and ran toward the children, leaving a bunch of hair in the raven’s claws. Rochester followed her; he was faster and stronger than the little dog. The raven plunged down to attack Stella, but he was thrown to a side by an unexpected hit; it was Philip, protecting the dog. Rochester, enraged, inflicted one blow after another onto the cat. Bloody and hurt, Philip was trying to keep himself from the unforgiving beak. Jack had entered the fight, swaying a stick that he carried. Jezebel, too, picked up a tree branch and attacked the raven. Three against one – that little pup was just not worth it. The raven soared up and practically dissolved in the dark sky.
The reunion was incredible. Jack and Lisa took turns holding their little dog and kissing its cold nose. Stella licked their dirty faces and squealed with joy.
Jezebel walked to Philip and kneeled before him. The injured cat was licking his wound, but he stopped when Jezebel approached him. “I will help if you let me,” said the girl and took the magical cranberry bracelet off her thin wrist. The cranberries and pearls shone beautifully under the full moon. Philip knew exactly what the glistening cranberries were about to do to him – heal. As soon as the cool bracelet touched his skin, the cat felt strong and relieved; his pain was gone. He jumped up, gave Jezebel a long, thoughtful look, and ran back into the birch grove.
“Look, he vanished,” Jezebel said, sadly. “Good-bye, friends! I must leave too, before the moon is gone.” She looked up at the moon and whispered something. At the same moment, a beam of shimmering light came pouring down, and the girl began to follow it as it streamed into the forest.
***
The magical ball of yarn, glowing in the dark grass, brought Jack and Lisa to the idol of shape shifting. A scary figure, wrapped in black, turned out to be Eddie, trying to warm himself with the witch’s cloak. “The witch is gone,” said Eddie, looking tired and glum. He stared at the dying fire, as tiny sparks were crackling and fading before his eyes. “I am glad you saved the dog,” he smiled. “You know, I lost my chicken bones and cranberries necklace,” he added bitterly.
Jack and Lisa looked at each other. They have never seen Eddie quite like that. “Look on the bright side, we have found your clothes!” Jack smiled and handed Eddie a sack with his pants.
The moon was now gone, but the golden rays of the rising sun woke up the singing birds. The passerines started first, the thrushes joined the choir, the robins followed, and soon the sunlit ancient forest was filled with the glorious chorus. The courageous children and their little dog had set on their journey home. And that, my dear, is a whole another story.



[1] Oblivious: not aware or concerned with what is happening.

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