A picture of the big cat Misery had healed, flashed through her mind and she unconsciously stroked the bite on her neck. There was a small raised area where his teeth had sunk deep, but nothing more. When she touched the spot, it itched, igniting strange fires throughout her body.
Misery, lived in the country for two reasons--she was never wanted in town—needed sometimes, but wanted, never. Two, she didn't care for socializing; anymore than one person at a time was too many.
She was not pleased to find that traffic had picked up at her place. Usually when she heard a buggy in front of her house, she expected sickness or hurt.
This time, Misery knew before opening the door that she was receiving another payment. She answered the knocking to greet Old man Ivers, the town’s only restaurant owner. He stood with a basket of food, ready to shove it into her hands.
“What is it?” she asked, because he held the basket in front of him like it contained snakes.
“Order for this, and money to pay, was shoved under my shop door this morning. I’m just getting around to delivering.” He stepped closer, suddenly not so in a hurry to leave. “You look different.”
Misery didn't recall ever having a conversation with Mr. Ivers in her life. She knew him by sight, as he did her. He was the owner of the Cat’s Eye Diner, she was the local witch.
“Not really, I’m sure.” Misery backed away as he made a hesitant step toward her. The dress that had been delivered earlier by the amorous sheriff, settled protectively over her hips, and she felt a curious rumble begin in her throat.
Mr. Ivers must have heard the noise, because he blanched and backed up. She was glad that he was leaving, if not a little startled, by his hurry.
Misery held the basket and watched as he slapped the leathers across his poor horse’s rump, urging the animal into a lope instead of a sedate trot, like—well—like he was running away from something.