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A House of Her Own
By B. Balder
Aoife was only eleven when she caught the little house in the forest. She surprised it as it drank from a puddle, half-hidden under a writhing tree root as large as her own body. Fast as an eel, she snaked her hand around it and held on tight. It was no bigger than a strawberry, all soft and furry and yellow. Even in the gloom of the giant, bad-tempered trees, it shone like a candle flame.
“House,” she whispered, “you’re mine now.”
It couldn’t answer back yet, but she knew it understood.
She showed her catch to Mama. Mama hugged her and told the big house they lived in what Aoife had found.
House spoke from the walls. “Good girl. Show it to me, little one. Let me see if it’s the right kind.”
Aoife clenched her fist tighter around the little house until it squirmed against the pressure. Sometimes the big hice didn’t approve of the little ones, for reasons no human could guess at. She didn’t plan on letting anything happen to her house.