Okay, okay, one more because I love you and because this isn’t a real story yet and I don’t have to crouch protectively over it and wave my hands to keep the internet off until it’s done. (Fairly soon I will hit that stage, but the publishers generally don’t care about the first few chapters of the first draft, or if they do, nobody’s ever complained about it to me. In this day and age, they may not even care about the whole thing, given that we are deep in the throes of New Media and everything is negotiable.)
Sarah spent most of that evening trying to decide on her heart’s desire.
For a number of years—at least since she turned nine—she had wanted to be a shape-shifter, or if that wasn’t possible, at least to understand the language of animals. But being a shape-shifter would be best. Imagine being able to turn into any animal that ever lived! She could go anywhere—fly like a bird, see with her ears like a bat, swim in the water like a fish. She could talk to the oozy salamanders along the foundation of the house and the alley cats that strolled along the top of the fence. It would be incredible.
When other girls at school were mean to her, she could turn into a wolf—a bear—a wooly mammoth!—and trample them to pieces, or at least pretend that she was going to, because if it came right down to it, Sarah was not sure that she wanted to trample anybody.
(This may seem an unusual ambition, but Sarah had read a great many books about magic and animals and changing your shape. Sarah’s mother believed that books were safe things that kept you inside, which only shows how little she knew about it, because books are one of the least safe things in the world.)
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