A Short Story originally published in the Kiss Me Deadly anthology
Stand alone release date: May 12, 2011
When reluctant teen witch Brenda Collins is sent by her mother to a magical pet shop to pick out her animal familiar, she settles on a small tawny-striped kitten not realizing it’s a shapeshifter currently in hiding. Discovering the gorgeous but troubled Owen’s secret plunges the witch-in-training into a dangerous and romantic adventure that will test her magical abilities like never before.
Familiar is a stand alone 10,000 word young adult short story, originally published in the “Kiss Me Deadly” anthology.
“Michelle’s short story Familiar is without a doubt one of the best short stories I’ve ever read…I would definitely recommend this story to everyone young or old.” —The Fictional Bookshelf
“If you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced, light read, this is a book to pick up.” —Romantic Rose’s Blog
Excerpt from FAMILIAR
“Now I have a kitten,” I mumbled, holding the shoebox close to my chest as I walked home in the dusky light of early evening. It was only a half-mile to my house from the store. “At least you’re cute enough. Kind of unsocial, but cute enough. Sort of like me without the cute part.”
“I think you’re cute.”
I stopped walking and looked over my shoulder. No one was there. I continued on figuring it was just my imagination. My positive affirmations bubbling to the surface. Mom always told me not to put myself down. Maybe it was getting ingrained in my head.
“I have no idea what to call you,” I said. “Mrs. Timmons said just to concentrate and it would come to me.”
“The name’s Owen.”
“I don’t like that name at all,” I told my imagination. “I want something way cooler than Owen.”
My imagination swore under its breath. “Wait a minute, you can read my thoughts? How the hell can you do that?”
I was about to answer my imagination when I noticed that someone was standing in my way. Two men, actually, both well over six feet tall with broad chests and shoulders like football players, blocking what little light there was on the horizon. I stopped walking and looked at them nervously.
“We need that,” one of them said.
“I don’t have any money,” I stammered. “Like, maybe five bucks total.”
“Keep your money, we just want what’s in the box.”
I looked down at the box holding the kitten. The kitten itself eyed me curiously for a moment before the box was pulled completely out of my hands. The kitten jumped out and one of the men grabbed for it.
“Hands off,” my imagination—which I was now thinking wasn’t my imagination at all—snarled.
The kitten arched its back and hissed, swiping a tiny paw in the man’s direction.
“Aw, isn’t that adorable?” one of the men said sarcastically to the other. “Little Owen’s showing his big, scary claws. Kids. Pain in the ass, if you ask me.”
Before I could say anything, do anything, something crazy happened. And, growing up in a house with a magic-using witch as a mother, that was saying something.
The kitten grew before my very eyes.
Instead of a tiny striped kitten standing between me and the men, there was now a huge tiger who had to be five hundred pounds or more.
It growled, baring long sharp teeth and flicked a glance at me.
“Stay back. Werewolves are dangerous even in human form.”
Werewolves? I staggered back a step, almost falling over.
“Come on,” one of the men said, although he was backing up a step at a time. “We don’t want a fight, Owen. Not here, not now. Just give us what we’re after and nobody has to get hurt.”
What they got was another fierce growl as the huge tiger moved toward them. Without another word, they turned and ran with the tiger stalking after them.
Had they called the tiger Owen?