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It was a crisp summer night in early August. Clouds blanketed the sky and rain fell in violent torrents. The streets were deserted, though it was Friday and not yet past nine, deserted except for a single black cat. It trotted across empty road with its fluffy tail held high. When it was on the other side, under the shelter of a tall Cyprus tree, the cat twitched its large ears, sending water droplets in all directions.
The cat, whose name was Lucifer, was joined there by a young woman, no older than eighteen. She had deep brown skin, the color of melted dark chocolate, and had her smooth black hair tied into a loose bun. She wore black sweat pants and a yellow and black stripped tank top with silk buttons down the middle. Cinnamon wore no jacket, though the wind blew cold and the rain was colder. She wore no shoes. In fact the only article of clothing that was in any way appropriate to the weather was her colourfully knitted toque with ear-flaps and pom-poms.
Lucifer looked up at her with glowing green eyes and meowed a rusty 'mrrf'.
Cinnamon knelt down beside the cat. "Lucifer', she said, "I've been thinking, that Mexican food last week just didn't work out, we should go back to Chinese."
They set out down the road, walking on its smooth pavement. The yellow glow of the lamplight lit the way and the rain fell harder than ever.
Chow Chow Chinese Cuisine was five blocks down and three block east of Cinnamon's house. It was owned by Henry and Fredrick Chow. It had the most amazing veggie chow mien with tofu. Its front doors were of rich brown wood and were intricately carved with the image of a giant, curling dragon. The carving was outlined with gold.
At 9:30 Cinnamon pushed the heavy doors open and stepped into the warm light of the restaurant. Lucifer curled himself under one of the bushes lining Chow Chow's walkway and waited while Cinnamon ordered.
The dining area was filled with the gentle chatter of families and couples as they talked over fortune cookies. Cinnamon took her place at the take-out counter. The line was not long. An elderly woman and a young girl wearing raincoats and boots stood at the front. There was a young man, wrapped tightly in a ski coat and a bright red toque, standing behind them. He was a head taller than Cinnamon and he held his chin high and proud. Cinnamon stared at the menu, even though her eyes would rather be on him and she knew what she was going to order. She chewed on her lower lip.
"You have Fairy Bites.", said a gentle voice.
Cinnamon looked up at the boy. Her eyes glowed fox-red.
"Excuse me?” she said.
"Those scars on under your lip," he said looking down at her, "They're Fairy Bites."
"Oh." She looked down at the menu again.
The boy was ordering when she thought it safe to look up again. He was fair skinned with deep golden eyes and hair.
"Hello Mrs. Kay.", Cinnamon smiled at Jeremy, Henry Chow's eldest son, who took his place behind the takeout counter.
"Same as usual?" he asked.
He handed her a plastic bag filled with paper containers. The containers held veggie chow mien and the famous tofu hot pot.
"Thanks", she said and handed him a twenty dollar bill.
He refused and she insisted. Then she left the building. Therius looked after her.
"Bye Bites", he said.
Lucifer leapt from the bushes and onto her shoulders the second Cinnamon was on the wet walkway. She stumbled from the unexpected weight. Lucifer trembled fitfully, his small body puffed up to twice his normal size. His ears trembled, his tail trembled, even his eyes seemed to tremble. It was so the whole walk home. He remained on her shoulders 'till the house was in sight.
The rain was only a faint drizzle when they reached number 5175. The house was the texture and tone of summer sand. Candles burned on either side of the carmine front door.
Lucifer jumped gracefully from her shoulder and shook himself dry on the welcome mat. Cinnamon let them in.
There was a note on the kitchen table. Cinnamon set the food beside it.
Am at Charlie's for tea and Chess.
She crumpled the note once she had read it and grabbed a fork. She read The Golden Compass, by Phillip Pullman while she ate.
It was raining again the next morning in a hard and steady rhythm. All the people on the blocks surrounding Chocolate Box Park stayed in the refuge of their warm living rooms, sitting by their warm fires and drinking warm tea. Therius would have done the same had he not seen, through his wide kitchen window, the small black girl from the previous night at Chow Chow's. She was tailed closely by a black cat.
Therius hated cats. Passionately. He also hated rain. With a sigh and gathered his coat and hat. He walked quickly to the park.
CB Park's field is round. Its grass grows long and luscious green. Cinnamon was lying in the center of the field. She was one her back with her eyes closed, Lucifer curled on her stomach, when Therius walked up drenched despite his coat and hat.
"Hello Bites", he said.
She opened her eyes. Lucifer hissed. Therius scowled at the cat.
"If you want to talk to me, call me Cinnamon or Kay." She rested on her elbows.
Therius sat gingerly beside her.
Another hiss. Another scowl.
"Hush Lucifer." She turned to Therius, "What can I do for you...?"
"It's about your Bites", he told her.
Cinnamon stared and eventually he continued. The rain got harder.
"They mean you're one of us." he said.
"Us?” she said sceptically. "They're just scars."
"They are marks", he said and his golden eyes gleamed.
He smiled and Cinnamon gasped when he saw the two marks under his lower lip.
"Explain", she commanded
"They are called Fairy Bites and they mark the few individuals of the human world that still possess magic: the reincarnations of those who were loved by Fairies. "
Cinnamon sighed, "So what does it mean having these Bites?"
"It means you have a choice. You can come with me or wait for them to come to you. It’s up to you, Bites.”
“It’s Cinnamon, Blondie.”