Taking the A-Z Challenge: currently with short chapters from a short story.
The next excerpt... in which there is joy and sandwiches.
They regard each other. Claire stands still. The child; a year, maybe two years old; stares at her, rubs an ear with a smudgy hand. Gender, indeterminate. Miniature jeans, t-shirt, canvas shoes. Hair is shoulder-length, light brown, waves. The light catches in it. The skin is almost luminescent. She doesn’t want to leave it. The animals are fine, if you leave them. It is easy to give the nonchalant friendly air to the animals. What does one do, with a child? Instinct tells her to hold ground. She keeps still.
It makes unsteady strides, around her, to the doorway. Holding the doorframe, puzzles out the step, looks at her, solemn faced over one fey shoulder; turns its attention back to the threshold. One foot pats down to the path. A sigh of recognition is emitted. Claire follows, certain only that it should not be left unattended. Her boots crunch on loose stone. Wavy hair flips as the child stops to check this noise: little face surprises her again with a full beam smile. Uttering a shriek of laughter, it runs. This is a game, Claire comprehends, a chasing game. She makes a dash for the table, to circle and appear in front of her odd guest. The game is a hit. Odd guest runs and laughs, until such burbling knocks it from unpractised legs. Claire hands it her last half of sandwich, quickly. It likes bread, butter and cheese, she establishes. Lettuce is licked and dropped on the path. Scuro appears, coiling round a table leg. The child holds a mushed lump of cheese on a splayed hand, offers it to the cat. Scuro sniffs, takes the proffered lump.
‘Nom nom,’ the child instructs.
Scuro purrs, sniffs the lettuce, seems to agree with the child. She nudges its shoulder with her cold nose, jumps back onto the table.
The child holds her sticky hands out to Claire.
‘Oh,’ Claire says.